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David Mohyuddin QC, barrister at Exchange Chambers, examines Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v PLT Anti-Marketing Ltd and explains the legal issues raised, and the practical implications and lessons that can be learned from the judgment.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v PLT Anti-Marketing Ltd  EWHC 3981 (Ch),  All ER (D) 260 (Dec)
The Chancery Division held that it had jurisdiction to grant a compulsory winding-up order in respect of a company on the company’s own application, and where there was an extant winding-up petition, which had previously been presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (SoS). The company was no longer trading and, notwithstanding that the SoS’s petition had been presented on public interest grounds, it had sought the winding-up of the company on the just and equitable ground, which was sufficient to found jurisdiction in the court to make a winding-up order on the company’s application. There was no requirement that the case be ‘thoroughly exceptional’ where, as in the present case, there was an extant winding-up petition.
PLT carried on business selling the purported service of preventing unwanted telephone sales calls and junk mail. It mainly recruited its customers by cold calling, during which customers were required to make an immediate decision whether to purchase PLT’s service.
By the petition as amended, the SoS sought the compulsory winding-up of PLT because:
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