Agnew and Kevin James Bearsley v The Commissioner of Inland Revenue, and Official Assignee for the Estate In Bankruptcy of Bruce William Birtwhistle and Mark Leslie Birtwhistle: PC 5 Jun 2001

(New Zealand) A charge had been given by a company over its book debts. The charge was expressed to create a fixed charge over debts uncollected when a receiver was appointed, so that on collection they became payable to the bank. Until the receiver was appointed, the charge claimed to be a floating charge, and subject to some limitations, could deal with them freely. The essence of a floating charge is that it is a charge, not on any particular asset, but on a fluctuating body of assets which remain under the control of the chargor. The ability to control the receipt of the asset, and thus take it out of the charge was inconsistent with a fixed charge.
Lord Millett said: ‘Property and its proceeds are clearly different assets. On a sale of goods, the seller exchanges one asset for another.’
[2001] 2 AC 710, [2001] UKPC 28, [2001] BCC 259, [2001] 2 BCLC 188, [2001] Lloyd’s Rep Bank 251, [2001] 3 WLR 454
Bailii, PC
Citing:
AppliedIn re Brightlife Ltd ChD 1987
Parties contractual freedom to be respected
A clause in a debenture gave a charge which provided that the chargor should not: ‘deal with its book or other debts or securities for money otherwise than in the ordinary course of getting in and realising the same which expression shall not . .
ReversedIn Re New Bullas Trading Ltd CA 12-Jan-1994
A company debenture, which purported to create a fixed charge on book debts, and a second floating charge over the proceeds when paid, was valid and effective to create a fixed charge. The chargee was not a bank, and therefore no facility could be . .
QuestionedSiebe Gorman and Co Ltd v Barclays Bank Ltd ChD 1979
It was possible to create a fixed charge over present and future book debts and on its true construction, the debenture granted to Barclays Bank Ltd in this case had done so. If the chargor of book debts, having collected the book debts, ‘[had] had . .
CitedStreet v Mountford HL 6-Mar-1985
When a licence is really a tenancy
The document signed by the occupier stated that she understood that she had been given a licence, and that she understood that she had not been granted a tenancy protected under the Rent Acts. Exclusive occupation was in fact granted.
Held: . .

Cited by:
CitedNational Westminster Bank Plc v Spectrum Plus Ltd and others ChD 15-Jan-2004
The company granted a debenture to the claimant purporting to secure its book debts. The company went into liquidation. The liquidator challenged the bank’s charge.
Held: Siebe was wrongly decided. The charge was ineffective over the book . .
CitedNational Westminster Bank Plc v Spectrum Plus Ltd; In re Spectrum Plus CA 26-May-2004
The court was asked whether a charge given over book debts in a debenture was floating or fixed.
Held: Since the charge asserted some control over receipt of the payments, it was a fixed charge. Upon payment into the account, title to the . .
CitedQuickson (South and West) Limited v Stephen Mark Katz, John Stephen Kelmanson (As Joint Liquidators of Buildlead Limited) ChD 25-Aug-2004
Various applications were made in the insolvency, including for removal of the liquidators and declarations that certain payments were a fraudulent preference on the creditors.
Held: No prejudice had been shown by any procedural irregularity. . .
CitedNational Westminster Bank plc v Spectrum Plus Limited and others HL 30-Jun-2005
Former HL decision in Siebe Gorman overruled
The company had become insolvent. The bank had a debenture and claimed that its charge over the book debts had become a fixed charge. The preferential creditors said that the charge was a floating charge and that they took priority.
Held: The . .
CitedVan Der Merwe and Another v IIG Capital Llc ChD 13-Nov-2007
The parties had entered into a debt factoring agreement, under which repayment was sought of some $30m, and the claimants were said to have guaranteed the loan by the factor to their company. The court was asked whether the guarantors had the same . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 January 2021; Ref: scu.159468