The Validity of the High Court Proceedings
On the question of whether the proceedings had been validly brought, Sir Ross Cranston held that it was open to a defendant to public law proceedings to argue that a claim was invalid because it had been brought without the proper authority of the party identified as agent (see para. 23). He accepted the submission, however, that (even if there was not a true agency relationship) the party purporting to act as agent could have brought the proceedings in its own right and could be substituted as Claimant if necessary. On this basis he made an order for substitution under CPR 3.3(4) and held the proceedings to be valid.
The Inspector's Decision
On the legality of the Inspector's decision at first instance, the Court found that the Inspector had arguably erred in finding that the Appellant had not appointed another company to act as its agent on the basis that it raises "difficult issues of both agency and insolvency law" including the question of whether a defendant is entitled to raise issues in relation to the liquidators' exercise of their powers in proceedings before the administrative court.
A copy of the judgment is available here and the matter will now proceed to a final hearing to determine those issues.
James Pereira KC represented the Claimants in earlier stages of the proceedings. Charles Streeten (leading Chantelle Staynings of Erskine Chambers) appeared for the successful Claimant instructed by James Kon of Asserson.