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Bridget Williamson acted for the Respondents on the bankrupt’s appeal against a bankruptcy order based on his liability under a guarantee.  The bankruptcy order had been made following the bankrupt’s vigorous attempts to persuade the court to dismiss the petition, involving three notices of opposition and numerous hearings.

The bankrupt denied receiving a demand under the guarantee, as was required on its terms, and his appeal alleged that the district judge who made the original order had applied the wrong test in determining the question of service.  Alternatively, he argued that even if the district judge had applied the correct test, she had reached the wrong conclusion on it.

The respondents served a respondent’s notice, asking the court to maintain the existing order on a new ground, namely, a “principal debtor” clause, which required no demand to be served on the debtor before liability for a liquidated debt arose.  The debtor argued that on its proper construction, the “principal debtor” clause did not apply to the present circumstances and the respondents should not be entitled to invoke it.

On 17 November 2023, Graeme McPherson KC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, gave judgment dismissing the appeal, both on the issue of service of the original demand and on the applicability of the “principal debtor” clause.

Bridget Williamson acted for the Respondents on the appeal (but not on the hearings below) and was instructed by Beth Holden and Gil Percival of Anthony Gold LLP (who were also newly instructed).