It appears that a new breed of Names could be making their way through the revolving doors at Lloyd's and so change the face of private capital in the age-old market.

The Commercial Court's ruling last week, which prevents around 1,000 Names from suing the Treasury, is likely to bring the axe down on successive attempts by a group intent on bringing legal action against the government and Lloyd's.

Charles Gordon, head of insurance and reinsurance at law firm DLA Piper, believes this could signal a renaissance in private third party capital.

He says: "This might be seen as part of closing the book on all the old problems at Lloyd's. The deal that Equitas has done, combined with the court's decision, could serve to draw a line under the past.

"There is a real intent to draw new third party capital into Lloyd's and the timing is certainly good for insurance. With corporate capital already flowing into the industry perhaps this is the right time for private investors to start entering the market again."

This year the number of private capital members slumped to 2,097, compared to 12,901 just 10 years ago.

This equates to a £5bn fall in market capacity from 1996 and marks a worrying trend of third party capital walking away from the marketplace.

But, 2006 has also signalled many changes, no more so than for private individuals, who plough billions into the 64 Lloyd's syndicates.

Lloyd's itself has recognised the declining numbers and its plans to revolutionise the 318-year-old structure will no doubt encourage more private capital to the market.

The Annual Venture: A Review is intended to turn the tide and the alternative investment models have been embraced by those associated with Names.

The Association of Lloyd's Members (ALM) describes the review as a "very positive attitude to private capital" and worth serious consideration.

While the two proposed models could provide access to some of the finest syndicates, the ALM admits that one "downside" for existing Names may be a negative impact on auction prices in some years.

Overall, however, the move to more flexible agency agreements or the formation of special purpose reinsurance syndicates will spark a resurgence in private capital participation.

As the association puts it: "Any proposals that make unaligned capital more attractive to managing agents, without at the same time making Lloyd's unattractive to unaligned capital, will assist to cement and eventually to increase the influence of such unaligned capital in the market."

If the review is deemed "an historic moment" in the association's eyes, then so too is the Equitas deal.

Whatever way you look, the future prospects for Names at Lloyd's is one simply of opportunity.

When members' agents look to increase the investment of third party capital next year, surely it will be done with increased vigour in the knowledge of a forgotten legacy, no more discontented Names and the open arms of Lloyd's.