Disclosure in bankruptcy proceedings

A former director disputed a bankruptcy petition arguing, amongst other matters, that payments that he received related to work done. As he no longer had access to his laptop, which had been seized by the police, he successfully secured an order that certain files were copied from the seized laptop and given to both parties.

The company appealed arguing that the costs involved were disproportionate to the petition debt which was only £11,000. The court agreed that whilst it had the power to order disclosure under Rule 12.27, this was the exception rather than the rule. In a case such as this this, it was not needed as the director could simply ask for copies of relevant documents from the company and if those were not supplied, the court could then draw adverse inferences from the failure to provide those documents.

This approach was similar to Re Angel Group Limited where an application for specific disclosure was rejected on the basis the court considered it could still reach a fair determination and avoid the cost and expense of disclosure by drawing appropriate inferences if certain documents were not disclosed.

Elation Capital Ltd v Hoffgen [2021] 6 WLUK 480

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