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Government proposes legislation to enhance UK insolvency regime

On 26 August, the Government announced that it will be making changes to UK insolvency legislation. The changes are intended to support distressed companies and address issues highlighted by major company failures and include: the ability for all companies to apply for a moratorium a new insolvency process – the “restructuring plan”, enabling companies to cram … Continue Reading

Let’s fly away…..

In the holiday season many of us jet-set to foreign shores – but do we ever think  about how we might get home if our budget airline goes bust or are we just hunting for the best deals to make the pound stretch further? The last decade has seen a number of airlines collapse or … Continue Reading

Secured creditors – don’t be too involved with your customer’s administration!

The case of Davey v Money and Anor (2018) EWHC 766 (Ch) should serve as a gentle warning to secured creditors to be aware of the level of their involvement in the administration of a customer. Background Angel House Development Limited (“AHDL“), a property development company, borrowed £16 million from Dunbar Assets Plc (“Dunbar“) in … Continue Reading

Will Amazon Flood the Premier League with Cash?

With the start of the World Cup, attention has understandably turned to football! Whilst for England, starting off with a couple of wins has for once raised hopes and taken the limelight away from the Premier League, preparations continue for the coming domestic season and recent events that have received relatively little media attention are to have huge … Continue Reading

Spotlight on CVAs – the British Property Federation gives Squire Patton Boggs its views on the recent spate of “landlord” CVAs

Cathryn Williams and Paul Muscutt, partners in the Squire Patton Boggs Restructuring & Insolvency team in London, interview Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy (Real Estate) of the BPF (the trade association for UK residential and commercial real estate companies) to get the BPF’s views on the recent spate of CVAs seeking to reduce/compromise lease liabilities.… Continue Reading

New Guidance Note Anticipated on Collective Redundancies in Insolvency

The Insolvency Service intends to publish a new guidance notice to address the issues faced by employers in dealing with collective consultation when a company is facing insolvency, following consultation with the industry last year. The guidance note is expected to require insolvency practitioners to notify the government in advance of collective redundancy proposals and … Continue Reading

Professional firms – in the fee firing line again

In the last week we have seen MPs criticise accountancy firms, KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PWC in their first report on the collapse of Carillion, describing the big four as “a cosy club” and calling for the firms to be forcibly broken up.  Whilst not suggesting that the firms were to blame for the collapse, … Continue Reading

Taking advice from professionals is not a “get out of jail free” card for directors in the event of insolvency

Directors of a company in financial distress will often turn to their professional advisors to assist in making decisions about the company’s future; whether that be their lawyers, accountants, bank, tax advisors or insolvency professionals. It is often a period of high pressure, where the right or wrong decision may have far-reaching consequences for an … Continue Reading

Supermarket wars or sweep?

In a retail world that is ever changing, could the big four supermarket giants become the big three? Sainsbury’s and Yorkshire-based supermarket Asda (the second and third largest supermarkets in the UK) have announced they are at an ‘advanced’ stage in proposed merger talks. The merger could result in approximately 2,800 stores and represent over … Continue Reading

Insolvency Practice Direction 2016 now in force

The new Insolvency Practice Direction 2016 has finally been given approval by the Lord Chancellor and came into force yesterday (25 April) bringing with it changes to reflect the new Insolvency Rules 2016 and recent changes to the CPR.  The new practice direction replaces that of 2014 with immediate effect.  Key changes include: clarity on … Continue Reading

Tax abuse and insolvency – an HMRC consultation

HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) has issued a consultation entitled “Tax Abuse and Insolvency: A Discussion Document” on how it proposes to confront those who misuse insolvency law as a means of avoiding or evading their tax liabilities. HMRC often describes itself as an “involuntary creditor” because it does not choose to trade with debtors. … Continue Reading

Failure to follow deemed consent procedure did not invalidate appointment

In the recent case of Cash Generator Limited v Fortune and others [2018] EWHC 674 (Ch), the Court determined that non-compliance with the deemed consent procedure for nominating liquidators did not invalidate their appointment. The case provides a useful summary on the relatively new provisions governing the deemed consent procedure and welcome relief to Insolvency … Continue Reading

Is the UK insolvency regime equipped for the current political and economic climate?

An effective and well-equipped insolvency and restructuring regime gives confidence to investors and financiers, enabling credit to flow through to businesses and boost economic activity, growth and innovation. In 1999, following the Asian financial crisis, the World Bank carried out a review of the international regimes to establish a set of key principles for effective … Continue Reading

Retail CVAs – update for landlords

Carpetright, the UK flooring company, has announced that it is considering a Company Voluntary Arrangement with the aim of “rationalising the company’s property portfolio in order to improve the long-term prospects of the business”.  This is expected to enable the business to close unprofitable shops and reduce their rent bill.  With 409 shops across the … Continue Reading

A sobering reminder of the potential pitfalls in doing a “pre-pack” administration

VE Vegas Investors IV LLC and others vs Shinners and others [2018] EWHC 186 Ch Background The applicants were creditors of VE Interactive Limited (In administration) (“VE”). VE encountered financial difficulties and its directors sought insolvency advice from insolvency practitioners at Smith and Williamson (“S&W”) and appointed them to advise on and effect a pre-pack … Continue Reading

Zombie High Street: Retail Casualties

There was a magical place that’s now in administration. It’s called ‘Toys R Us’, Toys R Us’, Toys R Us’. This week has seen another two major retail casualties with the aforementioned much-loved toy shop and well-known electrical retailer Maplin going into administration within minutes of each other. As predicted in one of our recent … Continue Reading

Is the restaurant trade “dining out”?

Jamie Oliver’s two flagship restaurants have hit the headlines this week, with the upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa in London’s Piccadilly closing. This comes shortly after last month’s announcement that Jamie’s Italian was closing 12 of its 37 restaurants, following the 6 sites that closed in January 2017. The Guardian reported that the number of UK … Continue Reading

The ongoing deconstruction of Carillion

Media attention has waned from the initial deluge of front-page headlines regarding the Carillion collapse. It would therefore be easy to be ignorant of the ongoing disintegration of the web of Carillion companies beneath Carillion Plc, the ultimate parent company of the Carillion group, which (according to its latest accounts) holds interests in over 350 subsidiaries … Continue Reading

Hellas – a blow to the confidentiality of litigation funding arrangements

A great deal of insolvency litigation is funded by non-parties to a claim – for example, by a creditor or an “after the event” (ATE)  insurer. Ordinarily such arrangements and their precise terms are confidential and are not required to be fully disclosed to a counterparty in litigation. In the recent case of Re Hellas Telecommunications (Luxembourg) [2017] EWHC 3465 … Continue Reading
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