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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

19 DEC 2012

Introduction to Professor Milman's talk at the IALS

I recently chaired an event at the IALS where Professor Milman gave a talk on Stewardship and the Insolvency Practitioner. I thought it might be of some use to post up my introduction here:

Professor David Milman – IALS welcome by Dr. John Tribe


“Stewardship and the Insolvency Practitioner”


Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for coming along on this cold winter’s night to hear what I am sure will be a fascinating lecture by Professor David Milman on “Stewardship and the Insolvency Practitioner”.

In the world of insolvency and beyond David requires no introduction – but as I am here I thought I should provide one!

David’s scholarship and in particular his long held editorship of the bible of the insolvency profession Sealy & Milman’s Annotated Guide to the Insolvency Legislation, has ensured not only that he has a healthy bank balance of course, but that his name and work will live on into the subsequent generations of insolvency practitioners, lawyers, academics and students alike.

Like Kerr with Receivers, or Archbald with Criminal law – Milman has made an indelible impact on his chosen subject.

The annotated guide is widely used in the courts as a primary reference work and has received a number of judicial citings. It is no mere reference tool however; many of the annotations are authoritative essays of note in their own right.  

David’s contribution to the subject of insolvency and wider company law and partnership law issues has been voluminous, and I not just talking about the expansion over time of the aforementioned insolvency bible.

Indeed, here is a fourth single volume edition my Spaniel felt so passionate about she ate the back cover! The text now exists in two volumes and sits on the desks of all those who are serious about our subject.

I think I just caught David looking wistfully at this single volume edition remembering the days when updating the bible was less like painting the Firth of Forth bridge!  

But David’s scholarship extends far beyond the annotated guide of course.

For some 34 years he has contributed to the development of our subject with relentless frequency in terms of outputs but also an editor, reviewer and leading academic administrator. In his time he has been head of both Manchester University and Lancaster University Law Schools.

Plucking some treats from his 188 or so outputs I will focus on a couple of highlights:

  • Who can forget his seminal 1991 contribution on the historical development of pari passu and fixed and floating charges delivered as part of UCL’s Current Legal Problems series. (Milman, David (1991) Priority rights on corporate insolvency. In: Current issues in insolvency law. Current legal problems. Stevens, London, pp. 57-85.) where he used two memorable turns of phrase when he noted:
    • “many of the existing distributional rules…are predicated on the pari passu grundnorm” (Milman Priority) – that of course had us all rushing off to the dictionaries.
    • “although the pari passu rule is retained there is little point in placing too much reliance on it if the company’s assets have been dissipated to such an extent that a faithful application of that principle of distribution only secures an equality of misery.” (Milman Priority)
  • His 2005 Ashgate monograph Personal Insolvency Law, Regulation and Policy has also been a very important contribution to the subject, not least in respect of his predictions for future development of the subject. At least SEVEN of his TWELVE items in his ‘Personal Agenda for Reform’ have now been addressed. I am prepared to wager David’s fee income from the annotated guide that the others will follow shortly!


Time does not allow me to go through the many other interesting and salient parts of David’s career. Again, I have selected some highlights:

·         Hon. Member of the Insolvency Lawyers' Association, 1996,

·         Subscriber Member of the Society of Practitioners of Insolvency, 1997,

·         Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Manchester 1995-1997.

·         He became head of the Lancaster Law School in 2008.

·         He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Company Lawyer and Managerial Law.

·         Having edited the Insolvency Lawyer for a decade in 2004 he became a co-editor of Insolvency Intelligence.

·         He is a Consultant Editor to Sweet and Maxwell's Company Law Newsletter

·         and a founder co-editor of the Bankruptcy and Personal Insolvency Reports.

·         Professor Milman is a subscriber member of R3 (Association of Business Recovery Professionals)

·         and he was chair of the Insolvency Lawyers' Association Academic Advisory Group until 2008.

·         Most recently, he organised the ILA academic seminar on the Challenges Facing Insolvency Practitioners in March 2007 at the Said Business School in Oxford.

·         He is a frequent speaker on the professional conference circuit and has presented a number of papers for Central Law Training over the past 4 years.

·         He also speaks at events organised by individual sets of chambers and by Regional Bar Associations.

·         Over the years he has held numerous external examinerships at a range of UK higher educational institutes and abroad (including University of Hong Kong and University College Dublin).

·         He was appointed a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Nottingham Law School in December 2007.

·         He was a Distinguished Visitor at the Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam in December 2009.

·         In 2010 he became a Professorial Associate at Exchange Chambers (Manchester).


For many years David has been unstintingly kind to, amongst others, junior academics. Some of whom are in the audience this evening. Without fail he has encouraged publication where possible, he has been gentle in critique and generous in guidance. Indeed, I am wearing this moustache as a tribute.

I’m not actually we are both participating in MOVEMBER so please sponsor us and help raise awareness of testicular cancer.

In is my great pleasure and honour to introduce this evening’s speaker, current IALS Visiting Fellow for 2012, Lancaster University Law School’s Professor David Milman who will speak to us on the subject of:


“Stewardship and the Insolvency Practitioner”


There will be time for questions following the lecture.



Dr. John Tribe

Kingston University Law School

28 November 2012


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