Freakley and others v Centre Reinsurance International Company and others: HL 11 Oct 2006

When it became clear that the company would be financially overwhelmed by asbestos related claims, a voluntary scheme of arrangement was proposed under s425. The House was now asked whether the right to re-imbursement of the company’s lawyers after the appointment of the administrators had a statutory priority over other costs of the administration, the floating charge and the unsecured creditors of the company.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Such claims did not have the priority sought. The House approved Chadwick LJ’s statement in the CA, but that did not mean that anyone with authority to act on behalf of the company must be deemed to have derived his authority from the administrator. The company may, before the appointment of the administrator, have conferred on someone an authority to contract on its behalf which, in law or in practice, the administrator cannot revoke. This is such a case. Such contracts are made on behalf of the company but not on behalf of the administrator, and liabilities for such debts should not have priority over those of other creditors.


Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Brown of Eaton-Under-Heywood


[2006] UKHL [2006] UKHL 45, Times 16-Oct-2006




Companies Act 1985 425


England and Wales


At First InstanceCentre Reinsurance International Co and Another v Curzon Insurance Ltd ChD 12-Feb-2004
It was a necessary part of the system of statutory transfers of insurance obligations under the Act, that the rights should be transferred before exhaustion of any policy excess, and notwithstanding the insolvency. The rights (inchoate at this . .
Appeal fromFreakley and Curzon Insurance Ltd v Centre Reinsurance International Company and Another; similar CA 11-Feb-2005
Claims were made for personal injury caused by asbestos. The re-insurers sought declaratory relief against the head insurers, and the administrators of the insolvent company. The administrators sought declarations in turn. Curzon insured the company . .
CitedGroom v Crocker 1939
An action by a client against a solicitor alleging negligence in the conduct of the client’s affairs, is an action for breach of contract. A solicitor is not entitled to payment of his costs by his client where his own negligence makes the work he . .
CitedCox v Bankside Members Agency Ltd and Others CA 16-May-1995
Successful Lloyds names were entitled to enforce their claims in the normal time sequence. The transfer of the rights of the insured against the insurer under section 1(1) the 1930 Act takes place on the event of insolvency, even if the insured’s . .
CitedPowdrill and Another v Watson and Another HL 23-Mar-1995
A receiver of a companies assets, who employed former staff of the company, beyond an initial period of 14 days, becomes personally responsible for their employment contracts, and consequently becomes liable for making redundancy payments. The 1870 . .
CitedIn re Atlantic Computer Systems Plc CA 1992
The chargor was a company which arranged with the chargee, a funding bank, that it should purchase equipment and let it on hire purchase to the chargor with permission to sub-lease to end users. The chargor charged to the chargee by way of security . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Insolvency, Company, Legal Professions, Costs

Updated: 07 July 2022; Ref: scu.245332