Blackpool FC’s receivers exonerated

The former owner of shares (shares) in Blackpool FC (shareholder), and others, had judgment entered against it, which it failed to adhere to. The claimant in those proceedings therefore enforced that judgment by, amongst other things, applying to court for an order appointing receivers (receivers) over the shares.

The receivers applied to court and obtained an order sanctioning the sale of the shares. The shareholder was on notice of that application and did not object to it, albeit that, once the receivers resigned, various directors of the shareholder also resigned, giving board control of the shareholder back to the ultimate owner, Mr Owen Oyston.

The shareholders then issued negligence proceedings against the receivers claiming, amongst other things, that the strategy in respect of the sale of the shares had been wrong resulting in them being sold at less than true value. 

The receivers applied to strike out those proceedings on the basis that the sale of the shares had been sanctioned by the court and the receivers were therefore immune to the claim, the shareholder had had the opportunity to object to the sale at that time, but failed to do so and was trying to re-litigate the issue, which was an abuse of process and, in any event, the claim had no reasonable prospect of success.

The judge agreed and struck out the main parts of the claim, holding that the receivers had immunity against the claim and that the shareholder should have raised their issues at the hearing for sanction and it was an abuse of process, albeit not res judicata, in having failed to do so. The judge was not however prepared to strike out on the merits.

Denaxe Limited v Cooper [2022] EWHC 764 (Ch)

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