Reinforcing the principle of open justice—Re Premier Motor Auctions Leeds Ltd

Reinforcing the principle of open justice—Re Premier Motor Auctions Leeds Ltd

How did the court in Re Premier Motor Auctions Leeds Ltd underline the importance of open justice? Simon Passfield, barrister at Guildhall Chambers, looks at this case and argues that if an argument for confidentiality is not strong enough, the courts will insist on an open hearing.

Original news

Re Premier Motor Auctions Leeds Ltd and another (In Liquidation)

[2015] EWHC 3568 (Ch), [2015] All ER (D) 126 (Dec)

The Chancery Division ruled on an application by liquidators of Premier Motor Auctions Leeds Ltd and another company for orders that litigation expenses of proceedings brought by the companies be approved and authorised by the court, pursuant to rule 4.218E of the Insolvency Rules 1986, SI 1986/1925 (IR 1986) and for orders that the application be heard in private and not be served on a creditor of the companies (Lloyds) until after the final determination of the proceedings. The court held that the circumstances of the case were not sufficiently exceptional to justify derogation from the open justice principle. A question of construction was raised as to whether the condition specified in IR 1986, r 4.218B(1)(c) was satisfied and whether it could be said that the liquidators would have to have recourse to property comprised in or subject to Lloyds’ floating charge in order to paylitigation expenses. However, it was not appropriate to deal with the application in the absence of Lloyd, and the application and the evidence were ordered to first be served on Lloyds.

What was the background to the application?

This was an application by the liquidators of two companies. The companies had issued a claim against Lloyds Bank plc and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in the High Court. The relief sought against Lloyds and PwC included damages for fraudulent misrepresentation, conspiracy, breach of duties of confidence and causing injury by unlawful means and causing the two companies to suffer loss by

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