Evidence in winding up proceedings – CPR v Insolvency Rules 2016?

RL petitioned for a winding up order in respect of the Appellant. At the first hearing of the petition the district judge made an order for witness statements to be served by the parties, which they were.

However two weeks before the final hearing the Appellant served further evidence and sought the permission of the judge to rely on that evidence at the final hearing, arguing that the additional evidence had been served in accordance with rule 7.16 of the Insolvency Rules 2016 (“IR2016”), which provides for service five days before the hearing.

The district judge considered that the application for permission was similar to an application for relief from sanctions and should therefore be subject to the same test. He applied the principals, refused permission and made the winding up order.

The company appealed. However on appeal the Court agreed that the judge was correct to apply the relief from sanctions principles. Rule 7.16 IR2016 applied to the first hearing of the petition; thereafter Part 7 IR2016 did not provide a code for dealing with the preparation for petition hearings. Instead the Civil Procedure Rules apply. The judge at first instance had ordered a timetable for service of evidence and the further evidence had not been filed in accordance with that timetable. Therefore permission was required, and the test was the same as the test for relief from sanctions.

Wolf Rock (Cornwall) Limited v Raila Langhelle [2020] EWHC 2500 (Ch)

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