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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

23 OCT 2012

Pace Europe Ltd and Others v Dunham and Another [2012] EWHC 852 (Ch); [2012] BPIR 836

(Chancery Division, His Honour Judge Purle QC (sitting as a judge of the High Court), 22 March 2012)

P obtained judgment in North Carolina against Mr and Mrs D for alleged breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud by the respondents, with damages assessed at US$2,112,771. Although a set-off was permitted in respect of a sum due to Mr D, a substantial balance in the award (US$1,794,260) remained due from Mr and Mrs D. This balance was trebled under procedures operating in North Carolina where unfair and deceptive trade practices had been established, such that the award exceeded US$5,382,780, plus costs. P served a statutory demand in this jurisdiction and appealed against the district judge's decision to set aside the demand on the basis that under s 5 of the Protection of Trading Interests Act 1980 an award of multiple damages could not be registered in the UK. HHJ Purle QC (sitting as a judge of the High Court) allowed the appeal. The judgment could be analysed to determine which element of the award was not enforceable, which depended upon whether the award was based upon separate causes of action. The element of multiple damages only related to one head of the judgment of the North Carolina court. Although the entire balance of the award had been tripled, there were distinctive elements of the award based upon separate causes of action that were purely compensatory (including the award of costs) and could be enforced despite the 1980 Act.

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