Winding up in the public interest considered by Sir Edward Evans-Lombe in the High Court

11 JUN 2009

Sir Edward Evans-Lombe (sitting as a judge of the High Court - he retired on the 30th September 2008) has recently handed down his judgment in Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform v Charter Financial Solutions Ltd & Ors [2009] EWHC 1118 (Ch).

The case concerns various petitions for the winding up of five companies under section 124A of the Insolvency Act 1986 on the ground that it is expedient in the public interest that those companies should be wound up. The facts of the case relate to misleading statements on the websites of the various companies. The judge notes:

"42. The grounds for seeking a winding up order against FSUK [the company] are set out at paragraph 20 of the Secretary of State's petition against that company in eight paragraphs a) to h), under the general heading "The Business of FSUK has been characterised by a lack of commercial probity". It is convenient to start by taking paragraph a) with paragraph e). Paragraph a) reads as follows:-

"a) The whole business model was misleading to the public and flawed. Far from being a successful business model, the business operated by FSUK of selling finance on behalf of third parties and franchising the same, was the successor business to the business of CFS which had ceased to trade because of the County Court judgments registered against it."

Paragraph e) reads as follows:

"e) Additional misleading statements are made on the FSUK website. The website claims that 'Finance Select (UK) Ltd is part of the FSUK group and have been established for over 22 years'. However checks on Companies House reveal that there is no UK incorporated business with the name FSUK Group or any registered companies with a similar name. FSUK itself was not incorporated until 11 July 2007."

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