Re Julie Ann Mowbray (A Bankrupt); Mowbray v Sanders (Trustee in Bankruptcy of the Estate of Julie Ann Mowbray) and another
Bankruptcy Annulment. The appellant debtor appealed against an order of a deputy district judge dismissing her application for the annulment of a bankruptcy order. In her grounds of appeal, the appellant had raised a limitation defence. The Chancery Division, in allowing the appeal, held that the belated revelation of the second respondent's only real answer to the appellant's limitation defence after the bankruptcy order had been made, without any explanation why it had not previously been put forward, materially altered the legal landscape and was an exceptional circumstance justifying review of the validity and enforceability of the petition debt.
Equity Equitable interest. The appellant, K, had cohabited with her partner, N, between 1976 and his death in 2009. Between 1985 and 2009 they had lived together in a property purchased by N and registered in his sole name. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed K's appeal against a finding that she had a beneficial interest in the property limited to the extent of 25% of its value.
Company Winding up. The respondent Secretary of State sought the winding-up of the appellant company, PLT, which provided a service to reduce unwanted marketing. PLT applied to vary undertakings it had previously given pending the final hearing of the petition. The judge determined as a preliminary issue that, for PLT to trade and seek new customers without disclosing that the telephone and mail preference services were provided to the public free of charge, would involve a breach of reg6 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, SI2008-1277. Consequently, the application failed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed PLT's appeal to the extent of setting aside the determination of the preliminary issue, as it was an issue which should be determined only at the final hearing, but declined to disturb the order refusing to vary PLT's undertakings.
Customs and excise Commissioners of customs and excise. The applicant company was investigated by the respondent Revenue and Customs Commissioners (the Revenue). The Revenue gave an undertaking to abide by freezing orders. The applicant brought proceedings, seeking an inquiry as to damages to be carried out on the undertaking. The Companies Court held that, on the evidence, none of the reasons adduced by the Revenue would make it inappropriate for the inquiry for damages to occur.
Company Winding up. The appeal concerned the question whether, when there was both an appeal against a VAT assessment pending in the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) (the tribunal) and a winding-up petition pending in the Companies Court, the tribunal or the Companies Court was the appropriate forum to determine whether the petition debt was disputed in good faith on substantial grounds. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that, when the tribunal had reached a conclusion on such an issue, that decision was normally likely to be a compelling factor in the Companies Court's exercise of discretion. That discretion was not, however, completely abrogated by the jurisdiction of the tribunal. It need not defer to the tribunal in every case, though it might often choose to do so.
Divorce Financial proceedings. During the course of divorce proceedings, preliminary issues arose for determination concerning assets which might, or might not, have been within the bankrupt husband's estate. The Family Division held that the family home was held by the wife on trust for the husband subject to a 25% beneficial interest in favour of the husband's adult son from a previous marriage. Further, sums asserted by the son to be due to him from the father's estate were, on the evidence, properly owed to the father and he had not relinquished his right to that money.
Bankruptcy Trustee in bankruptcy. H was made bankrupt. His assets on the date of the bankruptcy included four pension policies. H did not wish to crystallise the policies and, without crystallisation, the precise value of the policies could not be determined. The applicant trustee in bankruptcy applied to the court, effectively seeking that H be ordered to crystallise his policies and to exercise his elections in a manner desired by the trustee. The Chancery Division held that there was no power to require H to elect in any particular way. The application would be dismissed.
Company Liquidation. Following successful application for relief by liquidators under ss234 and 236 of the the Companies Court considered whether it had jurisdiction to order payment of expenses incurred by the respondent solicitors in complying with an order for the delivery up of documents and electronic files. The court held that, in the circumstances, it should not, in the exercise of its discretion, allow the respondents to charge for the time incurred.
Bankruptcy Trustee. The claimant, H, was bankrupt. He brought proceedings under the against the first and second defendants. The third defendant, who was the trustee in bankruptcy, applied to strike out the claim for damages. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the application, held that the suggestion that the entire claim for damages brought by H was vested in the trustee, and that it was an abuse of process for H to pursue it, was wrong.
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The claimants entered into loan arrangements with the first defendant bank's predecessor. They fell into arrears and the bank subsequently appointed receivers. The claimants brought claims alleging that the bank was in breach of contract by appointing receivers. The claimants further alleged that the receivers were in breach of duty in failing to secure best price for properties. In allowing summary judgment against the claimants, the Chancery Division held that there was no evidence of the bank giving up its rights under various security documents, or varying them. The bank had had the right to appoint receivers on an unsatisfied demand. Further, the claim against the receivers had to fail on the facts.