Re Kaytech International plc; Secretary of State for Trade and Industry -v- Kaczer and others; CA 1999

Robert Walker LJ said that the expression ‘de facto director’ had been in use for a long time, and commented on the failure to distinguish in pleadings between pleas that someone was a shadow or a de facto director. The two different labels were not necessarily mutually exclusive. He said: ‘However the two concepts do have at least this much in common, that an individual who was not a de jure director is alleged to have exercised real influence (otherwise than as a professional adviser) in the corporate governance of a company. Sometimes that influence may be concealed and sometimes it may be open. Sometimes it may be something of a mixture, as the facts of the present case show.’ and ”the crucial issue is whether the individual in question has assumed the status and function of a company director so as to make himself responsible under the [Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986] as if he were a de jure dir’
Rimer J referred to Jabble, ‘In my judgment, the principle reflected in that case is applicable here. If, following the service of these proceedings on [the respondent], he wanted to challenge [the Secretary of State's] assertion that [the company] went into liquidation in 1993, then his correct course was to apply promptly for a stay or adjournment of these proceedings so that he could in the meantime start separate proceedings challenging Mr Alexander’s status as liquidator, being proceedings in which all parties affected by the challenge would be joined as defendants. That would include Mr Alexander and presumably also [the company] itself. [Counsel for the respondent] submitted that such a course would not have been open to the [respondent], since he would have no locus standi to commence such proceedings. I am not convinced of that, since I consider it probable that his status as a respondent to the disqualification proceedings would have given him a sufficient interest, but whether that is right or not, he has anyway not sought to put it to the test, but simply expects the court to decide the point in proceedings to which neither Mr Alexander nor [the company] are parties.’
Robert Walker LJ spoke of the Tjolle cases, saying: ‘I do not understand Jacob J in the first part of that passage to be enumerating tests which must all be satisfied if de facto directorship is to be established. He is simply drawing attention to some (but not all) of the relevant factors, recognising that the crucial issue is whether the individual in question has assumed the status and functions of a company director so as to make himself responsible under the 1986 Act as if he were a de jure director.’

Court: CA
Date: 01-Jan-1999
Judges: Robert Walker LJ, Rimer J
Statutes: Company Director Disqualifications Act 1986
References: [1999] 2 BCLC 351,
Cases Cited:
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