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Deadlocked Companies – Judges Have Power to End Paralysis

Companies in which no one has a controlling interest can easily become deadlocked if shareholders fall out. However, judges have a range of powers to bring such paralysis to an end and enable all concerned to move on with their lives. One High Court case exactly on point concerned a pipe fitting company in which two men each held 50 per cent of the shares. They...

Contractor Must Pay £14.7 Million after Glass Panels Plunge into Street

Construction contracts can go horribly wrong, but few can have been as disastrous as one prestige office development which culminated in giant panes of glass falling into the street, putting the lives of passers-by at risk. The events triggered a storm of damaging national publicity and a High Court case in which a design and build contractor was ordered to pay...

Tax Avoidance Schemes Don’t Always Work – As Football Club Discovers

No matter how complex or multi-layered they may be, tax avoidance schemes do not always work. A football club found that out to its cost when the Supreme Court ruled that a structure of trusts, by which money was funnelled to its players’ families, did not overcome the requirement to deduct Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions at source under the...

What Are ‘Standard Terms of Business’? Court of Appeal Ponders

The law frowns on unreasonable contractual terms contained within standard terms of business – but what exactly does the latter phrase mean? The Court of Appeal considered that issue in an important test case that will be required reading for anyone involved in the lending industry. A consortium of three banks had lent $150 million to a company engaged in an...

Long Tail Asbestos Losses – Where Does Corporate Liability Lie?

Long tail losses arising out of asbestos exposure are immense and judges are often obliged to delve far back into corporate history in order to discern where liabilities rightfully fall. That was certainly so in one case concerning an electricity industry worker who died from cancer almost 50 years after he was exposed. The man worked in the turbines division of...

Hiatus in Award of Public Railway Contract ‘Not In the Public Interest’

The fairness of public contract tendering is rigorously enforced and the award of any such contract is automatically suspended if a dispute arises. However, in one case, the High Court ruled that the continuation of such a hiatus was not in the public interest. A company that had failed to win a contract in respect of provision of a new traction system for an...