(Supreme Court of the Republic of Ireland) A debenture conferred a fixed charge on book debts. It specifically provided that withdrawals from the account to which the proceeds of the book debts had to be credited might only be made with the prior consent in writing of the Bank. This additional restriction on the ordinary operation of a current account made it certain that the charge was fixed or specific and not floating. One must look, not at the declared intention of the parties alone, but to the effect of the instruments whereby they purported to carry out that intention. Was the account one which allowed the company to continue to use the proceeds of the book debts as a source of its cash flow or was it one which, on the contrary, preserved the proceeds intact for the benefit of the bank’s security? Was it, putting the point shortly, a blocked account?
 BCLC 242
Applied – Siebe 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 . .
Doubted – National 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 . .
Distinguished – In 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 . .
Cited – Supercool Refrigeration and Air Conditioning v Hoverd Industries Ltd 1994
(New Zealand) The court noted a greater reluctance in Australia and Ireland than in England to accept the creation of a fixed charge over present and future book debts.
Tompkins J said:’ a requirement to pay the proceeds of the book debts . .
Cited – Quickson (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. . .
Cited – National 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 . .
Followed – William Gaskell Ltd v Highley 1994
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 13 December 2021; Ref: scu.191958