Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v New Horizon Energy Ltd and another company

Company Compulsory winding up. The claimant Secretary of State applied for the appointment of provisional liquidators to the defendant companies. The Chancery Division, in allowing the application, held that jurisdiction existed because a winding-up petition had been presented which was likely to succeed and the appointment of a provisional liquidator was justified.

*Oraki and another v Bramston and another

Bankruptcy Trustee in bankruptcy. The claimant former bankrupts brought a claim alleging that the defendant trustees had failed to do his job properly and that he had mismanaged their estates, thereby causing them loss and damage. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the claim, held that a surplus in the bankrupt's estate did not give rise to a duty in the tort of negligence on the trustee's part to the bankrupt. A trustee did not owe a bankrupt a duty at common law outside of s 304 of the Insolvency Act 1996 and, further, it was not part of the trustee's role to review the legitimacy of a judgment affecting a bankrupt, which directly or indirectly had been subject to appeals which had been rejected.

Astra Resources plc v Credit Veritas USA LLC

Insolvency Practice. A company applied for an injunction to restrain a creditor (CV) from presenting a winding-up petition on the basis that the debt claimed by CV in a statutory demand was disputed on substantial grounds and that the petition would amount to an abuse of process. The Companies Court, in dismissing the application, held that the company had been unable to demonstrate a genuine dispute on substantial grounds as regards CV's claim for unpaid retainer fees of US$600,000. On the facts, it would not be an abuse of process for CV to present a petition to wind-up the company based on that debt.

*BPE Solicitors and another v Gabriel

Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. A trustee in bankruptcy sought directions from the court in regard to when an action in progress at the time of the trustee's appointment was adopted by the trustee, whether there was any reason in principle why the trustee should necessarily be required, simply by his adoption of the action, to pay the other side's costs of legal proceedings including those incurred at the time when he was not a party and the action was being concluded by the bankrupt for his own account. The Supreme Court held that he would not be held personally liable for any costs in relation to the action up to an including the order of the Court of Appeal by virtue of the fact of his office as trustee in bankruptcy or of his adoption of the appeal.

*Bell v Birchall and others

Bankruptcy Trustee in bankruptcy. The defendant solicitors had been in practice together until they were declared bankrupt. The trustee in bankruptcy of the first defendant applied for an order that time costs and expenses, which had been incurred in preserving files and records of the practice, reconciling the client accounts of the practice and incidental costs, should be deducted from the client accounts of the practice. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the application, held that the court did not have jurisdiction to make the order sought because, among other things, the first defendant, notwithstanding being made bankrupt, had been under an unbroken and continuing duty to manage the client accounts and client monies in accordance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules and that obligation could not be, and was not, displaced by his bankruptcy and could be, and was, displaced only when the Solicitors Regulation Authority decided to intervene in the practice.

*Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration); subnom

Company Administration. In the course of proceedings concerning the administration of companies connected to the Lehman Brothers group, the Companies Court made a number of rulings to determine the claims that might be made against a surplus of assets before any return to the creditors. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, in allowing the appeal against two of those rulings and upholding the remainder, considered, inter alia, the ranking in the administration of unsubordinated debt, whether currency conversion claims were non-provable liabilities, whether accrued rights to statutory interest under r 2.88(7) of the Insolvency Rules 1986, survived the transition from administration to liquidation and whether the obligation of contributories, under of the Insolvency Act 1986, extended to statutory interest and non-provable liabilities.

*Trustees of the Olympic Airlines SA Pension and Life Assurance Scheme v Olympic Airlines SA;

Insolvency Petition. The respondent company was a Greek state-owned airline that had gone into administration. The appellants were trustees of its pension scheme. The trustees presented a petition in England to wind-up the company on the ground that it was unable to meet its liability. The Chancery Division granted the petition, but it was overruled by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the trustees' appeal. On the proper construction of 'economic activity' in the definition of 'establishment' in art2(h) of Council Regulation (EC)1346-2000 (on insolvency proceedings), the company could not, at the date of the petition, be said to have had an 'establishment' in the United Kingdom.

*Bilta (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) and others v Nazir and others

Company Director. The liquidators of a company issued proceedings against its directors and third party company and its chief executive alleging that the defendants had perpetrated a fraudulent conspiracy which had amounted to a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the directors dishonestly assisted by the other defendants. Those defendants applied to strike out the claim against them on the grounds that the company was barred by the principle of ex turpi causa non oritur action. The High Court dismissed the applications as did the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court in dismissing the appeal held that illegality could not be raised as a defence and of the Insolvency Act 1986 had extra-territorial effect.

*Re C (A Child)

Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. In deciding that the child should go to live with the mother in France rather than in the United Kingdom, the Family Divison found that having regard to the welfare checklist, it was in the child's interests to live in France. Contact with the father could be maintained and the impact of her application being refused was likely to have a profound impact on the mother.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v APW Asset Management Ltd

Company Compulsory winding up. The respondent company was insolvent and there were concerns that it had been involved in money laundering. Its principal creditors were its customers. The applicant Secretary of State had sought a compulsory winding up order in the public interest. At the hearing of the application to appoint a provisional liquidator, the Secretary of State invite the court to proceed immediately to the petition and to make a compulsory winding up order. The Chancery Division determined that it was an appropriate case for dispensing with advertisement of the petition, it was an appropriate case for accelerating the hearing of the petition and it was manifest that a winding up order in the public interest should be made.