Double 3VB win in long running Insolvency dispute

Andrew Sutcliffe QC and William Day, instructed by Stewarts (Ian Gatt QC, Harry Spendlove, Frances Baird, Beata Moskova and Ollie Ingham) have secured two further victories in a long running insolvency dispute known as Brake v Guy.

The Court of Appeal handed down a judgment on 2 March 2022 about rights of privacy of bankrupts (such as the Brakes) when their employer seeks to pass information to their trustee in bankruptcy ([2022] EWCA Civ 235). Andrew and William acted for the Respondents. The trial judge had dismissed the claim at trial ([2021] EWC 671 (Ch)).

The Court of Appeal accepted the Respondents’ submissions and concluded that the Appellants had “fallen well short” of the “very substantial hurdle” that needed to be cleared to challenge the judge’s application of the law to the facts as found. The judgment of the Court of Appeal contains a useful summary of the law of privacy as it stands following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bloomberg LP v ZXC [2022] UKSC 5.

Another aspect of the dispute was tried for three weeks during the autumn of 2021 and judgment handed down on 25 February 2022 ([2022] EWHC 366 (Ch)). The Brakes sued for possession of a property on an estate in Dorset. In a wide-ranging legal analysis, HHJ Paul Matthews (sitting as a High Court Judge) concluded that their trustee in bankruptcy, himself a beneficiary under a trust in respect of the property because he did not hold registered title, validly licensed the Guy parties to enter into that property and exclude the Brakes from it.

The litigation continues with an appeal to the Supreme Court on the question of a bankrupt’s standing to interfere in their bankruptcies listed for 1 November 2022.

The Court of Appeal judgment can be found here.

The further trial judgment can be found here.

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