Whether to stay criminal prosecution of company in liquidation?

The Company went into voluntary liquidation in June 2018 and the liquidators applied to the insolvency court for a stay of criminal proceedings brought against the Company for the breach of its environmental permits for handling waste.

While the court was satisfied that it did have the jurisdiction to stay the criminal proceedings, it refused to do so as the criminal proceedings:

  • Were not being brought to advance the interests of one or more creditors at the expense of other creditors.
  • Were not inimical to the orderly management of the liquidators’ functions; and did not raise issues more suitable for determination within the liquidation.

In addition, the public interest grounds outweighed the disadvantage to creditors as the offences were serious, undermined the regulatory regime and, if the Company was convicted, could preclude the officers of the Company from holding environmental permits in the future.

Christopher Ratten and Lindsey Cooper v National Resource Body for Wales [2019] EWHC 2904 (Ch)


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