Search
Contact

Our clerks’ room is open between:

8.30am – 6.30pm

Outside of these hours and in cases of urgency, please contact
Paul Bunting on 07971 843023 or
Darren Madle on 07769 714399.

Clerk contacts

Richard Sheehan

Deputy Senior Clerk

020 7420 9503
Oliver Ventura

First Junior Clerk

020 7420 9505
Aron Hanks

Second Junior Clerk

020 7420 9506
Archie Conners

Third Junior Clerk

020 7420 9507

Our clerks’ room is open between:

8.30am – 6.30pm

Outside of these hours and in cases of urgency, please contact
Paul Bunting on 07971 843023 or
Darren Madle on 07769 714399.

Clerk contacts

Richard Sheehan

Deputy Senior Clerk

020 7420 9503
Oliver Ventura

First Junior Clerk

020 7420 9505
Aron Hanks

Second Junior Clerk

020 7420 9506
Archie Conners

Third Junior Clerk

020 7420 9507

Case Summary: (1) Adrian Charles Hyde (2) Kevin Anthony Murphy (in their capacities as Joint Liquidators of Radarbeam Limited) v Sukhwinder Todd [2024] EWHC 1423 (Ch)

On 11 June 2024, Mr Justice Edwin Johnson handed down judgment in the appeal of the decision of Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Briggs, refusing summary judgment in a claim for payment of circa £1.9m by a company director in the light of alleged wrongful trading, brought pursuant to section 214 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Summary judgment was sought on the principal basis that the First Tier Tribunal had already made adverse findings against the director of his knowledge that the company was involved in transactions connected with the fraudulent evasion of VAT, through a sophisticated and high value MTIC fraud. These findings, it was argued, were properly to be viewed as determinative of the section 214 claim.

In dismissing the application for summary judgment, Chief ICC Judge Briggs determined that the matter was unsuitable for summary judgment, including on the grounds of the highly fact-sensitive nature of a section 214 cause of action (including the highly sensitive defence in section 214(3)) and because it remains arguable that any such findings made by the Tribunal are inadmissible in the Insolvency and Companies Court under the rule in Hollington v Hewthorn [1943] KB 587 (pursuant to which findings of fact by judges in previous proceedings are generally inadmissible at subsequent trials as mere expressions of opinion).

The Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of Chief ICC Judge Briggs, for two principal reasons.

  1. The nature of the matters to be proved in a section 214 claim (including the statutory defence to such a claim) are “acutely fact sensitive”, which in this case ran into “factual issues which are not suitable for determination on a summary basis”.
  2. It remains arguable that, under the rule in Hollington v Hewthorn, the FTT findings of knowledge are inadmissible. Further and in any event, the findings were not determinative of the section 214 claim, in the light of the facts and matters required to be proved by the Joint Liquidators being different to the issue(s) before the Tribunal (and in proceedings between different parties).

The judgment is likely to be of interest to insolvency practitioners and lawyers and, more generally, for its wider discussion of the modern applicability of the rule in Hollington v Hewthorn, which remains operative in the modern authorities.

Maxwell Myers acted for the successful Respondent.

A copy of the judgment can be read here