Christopher Brockman


Year of Call 1985



General Profile


HE IS A GOOD LATERAL THINKER, AND A GOOD ALL-ROUND INSOLVENCY COUNSEL” Chambers UK 2015

 

Chris practises in all areas of personal and commercial insolvency. He has been consistently recommended in Chambers UK for many years   including for his "fantastic client supportiveness" and for his combination of "intellect and commercially savvy common sense." He is further "particularly praised for his "flexibility and responsiveness." One source adds "Nothing is ever too much trouble for him." He is viewed as an "innovative thinker and always thoroughly prepared."

 

His practice areas include asset recovery on behalf of insolvency office holders, opposing and obtaining administration orders; compulsory winding up; freezing orders; wrongful trading/breach of directors' duties claims; 236 applications to examine directors and examination of directors; defending trustees against claims for negligence/breach of duty; Bankruptcy Restriction Orders. He acts for the Secretary of State on various applications, including Company Directors Disqualification proceedings and public interest petitions.

 

In the recent past Chris had been involved in several high profile personal and corporate insolvency cases and is frequently instructed by HMRC in relation to complex applications including on a number of provisional liquidations. He has also successfully defeated challenges to several, including obtaining personal cost orders against directors. He is currently acting on several claims brought against insolvency office holders for alleged breach of duty.

 

He is also an expert in the inter-relation of criminal law and the civil insolvency regime.

 

His recent reported decisions include:

 

2012   Autoquake Ltd v Car Care Plan Ltd - [2012] All ER (D) 194 (Feb) Directions about valuing 5000 warranty claims in an administration.

 

2012:   Chapper v Jackson [2012] BPIR 257. Successfully defending trustee in bankruptcy in a negligence action.

 

2013:   Re SED Essex Ltd - [2013] All ER (D) 151 (Jun). Successfully defeating a challenge to the appointment of provisional liquidators.

 

2013    HM Revenue & Customs Commissioners v SED Essex Ltd & another [2013] All ER (D) 78 (Nov). Following an application to set aside an order appointing provisional liquidators the Court made a personal costs order against the director.

 

2014    HM Revenue & Customs Commissioners v Winnington Networks Ltd & another company [2014] All ER (D) 207 (May). In granting without notice applications for the appointment of provisional liquidators in relation to companies suspected of fraudulent trading, the court summarised the relevant principles to be taken into account.

 

2014    Re Chawda (In Bankruptcy) [2014] BPIR 49. A non-bankrupt wife was not entitled to assert the equity of exoneration where it would be artificial to allow her to take the benefits while simultaneously seeking to enforce the right of exoneration to his disadvantage.

 

2014    Hellard & Another (as Trustees in Bankruptcy of Shahrokh Mireskandari) v (1) Chadwick (as Trustee in Bankruptcy of Mehrdad Jami Tehrani) & (2) Shelley Jami Tehrani [2014] BPIR 163 - Registrar Barber held that a transaction at an undervalue claim against Mr Tehrani’s estate was a claim which was a provable debt in his bankruptcy and granted a stay of the proceedings both against his estate and Mrs Tehrani as a subsequent recipient. This was upheld on appeal [2014] BPIR 1234.

 

2014    Parkwell Investments Ltd, Re; Parkwell Investments Ltd v Wilson [2015] Bus LR 40, 164 NLJ 7634 and [2015] BPIR 74. An appeal to the FTT by a taxpayer does not oust the jurisdiction of the court to decide whether a petition debt is genuinely disputed.

 

2014    Re France (A Bankrupt) [2014] BPIR 1448. The Court analysed the use to which information obtained on a search and seizure order could be put.

 

2015    Winnington Networks Communications Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2015] All ER (D) 19 (May). Successfully defeating an application to dismiss a winding up petition.

 

2015    Re Micra Contracts Ltd (in liquidation) [2015] [2016] BCC 153. Acting for the liquidator of a company on a misfeasance claim in successfully obtaining judgment against 3 directors.

 

2015    Revenue and Customs Commissioners v Munir and others [2015] All ER (D) 133 (May). The court jailed 3 company directors for 6 months where they had paid away company funds immediately after the appointment of provisional liquidators.

 

2015    Re The Sherlock Holmes International Society Ltd [2015] BPIR 1329. On an appeal by a company for against a winding up order security for costs will not automatically be ordered.

 

2015    Winnington Networks Communications Ltd V Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2015] STI 1628 : [2015] BCC 554 Company directors failed to show that they genuinely believed that the company had a good defence to a winding-up petition or that it was in the company's interests to defend the petition. They were ordered to pay personally the petitioning creditor's costs of the petition and the costs of the company's unsuccessful defence.

 

2016    Andrew Philip Wood v (1) Jeremy John Paul Priestley (2) John Russell [2016] EWHC 2986 (Ch) The commercial purpose of a clause in a partnership agreement providing an indemnity to a salaried insolvency practitioner was to protect him against claims against the partnership for which he might be liable as a salaried partner, not to protect him against claims made personally against him.

 

2016    Re Sherlock Holmes International Society Sub Nom John Aidiantz (Petitioner) v Sherlock Holmes International Society Ltd (Respondent) & (1) Stephen Riley (2) Jennifer Decoteau (3) Pinder Reaux & Associates (Costs Respondents) [2016] 4 WLR 173 : [2016] PNLR 31. A claim for breach of warranty of authority brought against a company's firm of solicitors was not made out where the solicitors had ostensible authority to act for the company.

 

2017    Ball (liquidator of PV Solar Solutions Ltd) and another v Hughes and another [2017] EWHC 3228 (Ch) [2018] 1 BCLC 2018 Application under s. 212 IA 1986 following the respondent directors wrongfully causing their directors’ loan accounts to be credited.

 

2017    Aidiniantz v Sherlock Holmes International Society Ltd and another [2017] EWCA Civ 1875; [2017] All ER (D) 210 (Nov). The Court of Appeal upheld the first instance decision that the appellant had ceased to be a director of the Respondent at the relevant time. Accordingly, the Respondent had no directors and could not have given instructions for its further participation in an appeal against a winding up order.

 

2017    Safe Business Solutions Ltd (in liquidation) v Cohen and another [2017] EWHC 145 (Ch); [2017] All ER (D) 82 (Feb)The Companies Court granted the applicant company an order, under para 43 of Sch B1 IA 1986, to commence legal proceedings against 727 companies in administration. 

 

2018      Iain Paul Barker v Pual Baxendale-Walker [2018] EWHC 2518 EWHC 2518 (Ch)  The court may appoint specific individuals as trustees in bankruptcy upon the making of a bankruptcy order pursuant to the court’s inherent jurisdiction, or alternatively pursuant to its power under s.363 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

 

2018     Iain Paul Barker v Pual Baxendale-Walker [2018] EWHC 2518 STI 1585, [2018] BPIR 1243   Under the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 r.10.24(2) a bankruptcy petition could be stayed or dismissed where "an appeal is pending" from the judgment debt on which the petition was based. An application for permission to appeal was not a "pending appeal", and the court had no jurisdiction under r.10.24(2) to stay or dismiss the petition unless permission to appeal had been given, or where no permission was required.

 

2018   (1) Francis Wessley (2) Peter Hughes-Holland (Joint Liquidators of Laishley Ltd, in Liquidation) v Richard White [2018] EWHC 1499 (Ch) The managing director of a company had not breached his fiduciary duties to the company under the Companies Act 2006 s.171 and s.172 where he had honestly believed that a novation of the company's contracts would be in the interests of everyone, including its creditors, and he had genuinely, but mistakenly, considered, on the advice of trusted professionals, that signing deeds of release would be the first step in obtaining those novations.

 

2018    Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy v Edward Charles Ormond Steven sub nom In the Matter of CQH1 LTD & RTD1 LTD [2018] EWHC 1331 (Ch)  A disqualification order was made against a company director where he had caused three companies in financial difficulties to continue to trade to the detriment of HMRC by using money owed to HMRC as involuntary capital to pay the companies' suppliers. The director's assertion that he believed business would improve sufficiently to clear the debts to HMRC were too speculative to deflect from the discriminatory treatment of HMRC, particularly given the prolonged trading period over which the discrimination had occurred.

 

2018     Re Rathore (In Bankruptcy) [2018] B.P.I.R. 501  Where a bankrupt had entered into transactions at an undervalue in the form of gifts of shares to his wife, the appropriate relief was to vest the shares in the trustees in bankruptcy and order the wife to pay a sum equivalent to the dividends that she had received. The primary relief sought by the trustees, namely the value of the shares when they were transferred, would represent over-compensation for the bankrupt's estate.

 

2018   Revenue & Customs Commissioners v Malde [2018] EWHC 1381 (Ch)  The court refused to discharge a freezing injunction granted to HMRC against an individual who, through his company, had allegedly evaded VAT and excise duty. If material relating to the liability of a predecessor company, allegedly not disclosed to the judge, had been at the hearing it would have made no difference to the decision. Other alleged non-disclosure was an attempt to undo a serious and protective measure by trawling though material years later. Any delay could not be blamed on HMRC.

 

 

Christopher is a member of the Insolvency Lawyers' Association and a fellow of R3 (Association of Business Recovery Professionals), he is also a CEDR Accredited Mediator and has acted as a mediator in insolvency related cases. He has spoken on numerous courses and conferences. He is a contributor to Lexis Nexis PSL (insolvency module) and Gore-Browne on Companies as well as the author of numerous insolvency related articles. He is also one of the authors of the Modern Law of Meetings (third edition) dealing with the insolvency section.

 

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