Administration Conduct of administration. The Companies Court granted the applicant company, Safe Business Solutions Ltd (in liquidation), an order, under to the Insolvency Act 1986, to commence legal proceedings against 727 companies in administration. SBS's case was that the joint administrators of the companies, acting in their personal capacity, had entered into a contract to pay SBS 500, plus VAT, to produce financial statements or accounts for each of the companies. The court held that the starting point, in respect of the application, was the status of the administration at the time of the court hearing, and that the strength of the present case could not be easily dismissed in circumstances where, in the light of questions of fact, yet to be determined, SBS's case had a reasonable prospect of success. Further, it held that delays in making the present application would not affect the operation of the administration.
Bankruptcy Bankrupt's estate. The Bankruptcy Court allowed an application, by the trustees in bankruptcy of the second respondent (D), for a declaration that a property, which had been bought in D's father's name and had been transferred, for no consideration, to the first respondent company, of which D was a director, formed part of the bankruptcy estate and vested in them as the trustees in bankruptcy. Although legal title of the property was in D's father's name, the court held that the evidence pointed to the common intention that the property was to be owned beneficially by D and that, in reality, it was his.
Company Compulsory winding up. The Companies Court made an order for the winding up of one company and an order restoring another company to the register of companies and for its winding up, where the affairs of the companies had been intertwined. The business of the companies had been conducted in a way that did not meet accepted minimum standards of commercial behaviour. It would be appropriate to wind up the companies as a matter of punishment for past behaviour and to mark the court's disapproval of that misbehaviour.
Bankruptcy Disclosure orders. The Chancery Division granted the trustee in bankruptcy's application for the committal of the respondent bankrupt for breach of financial disclosure orders. The court held that, on the facts, it could take the exceptional court of hearing the application in the respondent's absence, and that the allegations of contempt had been established to the extent indicated. The application in respect of sentence was adjourned.
McLean and another (as Joint Administrators of Dent Company (a partnership) (in administration)) v Berry and others
Equity Marshalling. The Chancery Division ruled on an application by the joint liquidators of a partnership (in administration) for directions, under para63 of SchB1 to the . The court held, among other things, that the fourth respondent, who had loaned money to the partnership, was entitled to claim the proceeds of assets subject to an agricultural charge by the application of the principle of 'marshalling' and to prove as an unsecured creditor in the administration for any shortfall, in circumstances where a bank had had the right to resort to two securities in support of its lending to the partnership and where the fourth respondent had had a right to resort to one security in support of her lending to the partnership, a company connected to the partners and to the partners personally. The court further held that the trustees in bankruptcy of the partners did not have a claim based on unjust enrichment and were not entitled to claim in the administration of the partnership by operation of the doctrine of subrogation.
Costs Security for costs. The Chancery Division, in dismissing the defendants' application for security of costs in respect of proceedings brought by the claimant insolvent companies, held that where there was an ATE policy in place, the question, under CPR 25.13, was simply whether there was reason to believe that the insurer would not pay under the policy when called upon to do so. In the present case, the claimants had obtained ATE insurance policies and the defendants had failed to satisfy the court that there was reason to believe that they would be unable to pay the defendants' costs already incurred and of the initial stages of the proceedings if ordered to do so. Accordingly, the jurisdictional threshold under CPR 25.13 had not been crossed.
Company Winding up. The Companies Court dismissed an application to rescind a winding up order where the first applicant director of the company in question had no standing to make the application. The court held that, on the evidence, the applicant had failed to establish his case that he was a creditor of the company. Further the application to rescind had been made late, over two years after the winding up order, and there were no grounds for granting an extension of time.
Insolvency Bankrupt's estate. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the trustee in bankruptcy's appeal, thus holding, that s333(1) of the read in conjunction with s310 of that Act, did not enable a trustee in bankruptcy to require a bankrupt, who had reached the age at which he was contractually entitled to draw down or 'crystallise' his pension (but had not done so), to elect to do so, so that the trustee might apply for an income payments order, under s310 of the Act, in relation to the funds drawn, or to be drawn, down. Since rights under registered personal pension schemes no longer formed part of the bankrupt's estate which vested in the trustee, in the absence of express statutory language conferring such a power, there was no basis for concluding that the court had power to require a bankrupt to exercise his options in any particular way.
Bankruptcy Claim. The Chancery Division dismissed an application for permission to appeal against a Registrar's decision allowing a claim brought by the first respondent trustee in bankruptcy, alleging that a deed of assignment, purporting to assign the second applicant bankrupt's interest in his property to first applicant, his mother, was a sham or that it should be set aside, pursuant to , and of the Insolvency Act 1986. The court considered the effect the first applicant being debarred from defending the claim after she had failed to comply with various conditions and her application for relief from sanctions had been dismissed.
Practice Application for directions. The Chancery Division, in allowing the Revenue and Customs Commissioners' appeal against a Registrar's decision, held that the Registrar had erred in giving directions to the respondent trustee in bankruptcy at the hearing of an application for directions in respect of a third party notice under of the Finance Act 2008. The Registrar's decision had anticipated that a Registrar might actually make an order inconsistent with a notice. That more than hinted at a parallel jurisdiction, and was wrong.