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In the matter of Atlantic Computers Plc (1997)


Delay of two years in bringing an application under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 did not amount to an abuse of process.


Application by the respondent (one of nine named respondents in the application of the Secretary of State) to have the proceedings under s.8 Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 against him struck out as being oppressive and an abuse of process. The proceedings arose out of the collapse of the companies named above where these companies had hidden vast contingent liabilities from the their accounts amounting to #160m. Administration Reports were made in respect of all three companies in early 1990. Inspectors were appointed under s.432 Companies Act 1985 on 15/6/90. The inspectors reported on 22/4/94 and the present proceedings were commenced on 13/3/85.


Although there was no period of limitation for the proceedings it was plainly desirable that any proceedings based on the inspectors' report should be begun as soon as possible for the sooner a respondent was disqualified from being a director the better. In Re Manlon (1995) 4 All ER 14 it was decided that where there had been delay and it was sufficiently serious to outweigh the public interest in pursuing the disqualification proceedings to protect the public, such an application should be struck out. But the present case was different from Manlon where there was inordinate or inexcusable delay and although there had been more than two years delay, the respondent's application would be dismissed.

Chancery Division
Jacob J
Judgment date
26 June 1997

LTL 27/6/97


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