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Re Promwalk Services Ltd

Summary

The Registrar had been entitled to refuse an application for an adjournment of directors disqualification proceedings and to conclude that the appellant had been a director of the subject company at the material time.

Facts

Appeal by the claimant ('F') from a decision of Register Baister by which he disqualified F from acting as a company director for a period of two years under s.6 Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. At all material times F was the sole director of the subject company ('Promwalk'), which went into creditors' voluntary liquidation with a deficit of about £75,000 after only 15 months of trading. The case against F was that he had failed to ensure that Promwalk: (i) maintained and preserved proper accounting records; and (ii) complied with its obligations in respect of PAYE, NICs and VAT. F's case was that he had gone to live in Brazil three months after Promwalk commenced trading having left a completed form for resignation as director, and had had no involvement in the day to day management of Promwalk in the period leading up to its liquidation. When the proceedings came on for trial before the Registrar, F applied for an adjournment in order that certain witnesses might be required to attend for cross-examination by F. The Registrar refused that application on the ground that the oral evidence of those witnesses was unlikely to add anything to the documentary material that was already before him. He then went on to find that F had remained a director of Promwalk notwithstanding his absence in Brazil, and that as a consequence he could not avoid some degree of responsibility and liability for Promwalk's defaults. F appealed from both the refusal of the adjournment and the Registrar's substantive decision.

Held

(1) The refusal of the adjournment was really a trial management decision for the Registrar. There was no basis upon which this court could possibly reverse that decision. (2) Under CPR 52.11, the power of this court was limited to a review, and not a re-hearing, of the Registrar's substantive decision. This court was satisfied that there was sufficient material to justify the conclusion that he had reached.

Appeal dismissed.

Chancery Division
Park J
Judgment date
10 December 2002
References

[2003] 2 BCLC 305