- Directors’ contempt within commercial proceedings (Integral Petroleum SA v Petrogat FZE)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: This analysis looks at the principles to be applied when seeking the committal of company directors for breaching the mandatory and prohibitory aspects of an injunction. In a 36-page judgment, Foxton J looked at a range of arguments as to why the committal application should fail, including strike-out arguments based on procedural irregularity and abuse of process. Both arguments failed, but the discussion contains a useful restatement of the relevant principles. The contemnors, Ms Sanchouli and her father Mr Sanchouli, also advanced arguments as to why their non-compliance could be justified. On this point the court decided that as the offence was effectively one of strict liability, any justification for the non-compliance went to whether committal was appropriate, and not whether Mr and Ms Sanchouli were in contempt. Ultimately, contempt was proved in respect of both individual directors. The case is a rich resource, containing many of the prevailing authorities in this area, and will provide a helpful reference point for any practitioner considering committal proceedings against a company director in what has become ‘an increasingly common feature of High Court litigation’. Written by Alexander West, barrister at Albion Chambers, Bristol.
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