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Umbrella Care Ltd (In Liquidation) v Nisa and others [2022] EWHC 86 (Ch)

Mr Justice Edwin Johnson has handed down judgment in Umbrella Care Ltd (In Liquidation) v Nisa and others [2022] EWHC 86 (Ch), a summary judgment application arising from a multimillion-pound labour supply fraud committed by an umbrella payroll company, which deducted VAT, PAY and NICs and then submitted false returns to conceal the true position. The directors then extracted substantial sums from the company which should have been paid over to HMRC. HMRC’s claim in the liquidation is about £36 million. Some of the money was traced into bank accounts and some used to acquire numerous properties through a network of companies. At the outset the Company obtained freezing and proprietary orders.

The Company sought summary judgment against some of the Defendants arising out of its claims for breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt. Following a two-day hearing the Judge ruled in favour of the Claimant and found that there was no real prospect of the Defendants successfully defending the breach of duty and knowing receipt claims.

He ordered judgment with damages/equitable compensation to be assessed and substantial interim payments. The Judge also granted declarations that 19 properties and a bank account held in the name of the Defendants were held on constructive trust for the Claimant and made an order requiring the bank to pay the money direct to the Claimant.

Christopher Brockman appeared for the Claimant, instructed by Wedlake Bell LLP