In Re Seagull Manufacturing Co Ltd (In Liquidation); Tucker: CA 22 Feb 1993

The court has jurisdiction to order the public examination of a company director in in a compulsory liquidation about the affairs of the company, even though he might not be within the jurisdiction. The court found no reasons of comity which would prevent those who voluntarily were officers or otherwise participated in the formation or running of an English company to be capable of being summoned by the English court for public examination. Further, Parliament had provided for the winding up of foreign companies, where there was a sufficient connection with the jurisdiction, knowing that section 133 should apply in such a case, thus indicating an intention that officers who may well not be within the jurisdiction should be examined publicly.
Peter Gibson J said: ‘Where a company has come to a calamitous end and has been wound up by the court, the obvious intention of this section was that those responsible for the company’s state of affairs should be liable to be subjected to a process of investigation and that investigation should be in public. Parliament could not have intended that a person who had that responsibility could escape liability to investigation simply by not being within the jurisdiction. Indeed, if the section were to be construed as leaving out of its grasp anyone not within the jurisdiction, deliberate evasion by removing oneself out of the jurisdiction would suffice. That seems to me to be a wholly improbable intention to attribute to Parliament. Further, section 133 must be construed in the light of circumstances existing in the mid-1980s when the legislation was enacted. By use of the telephone, telex and fax machines English companies can be managed perfectly well by persons who need not set foot within the jurisdiction. There is no requirement that an officer of an English company must live in England, nor of course need an officer of an overseas company which may be wound up by the court. Such a company is very likely to have officers not within the jurisdiction.’


Dillon LJ, Peter Gibson J


Ind Summary 22-Feb-1993, [1993] Ch 345


Insolvency Act 1986 133


England and Wales


Appeal fromIn re Seagull Manufacturing Co Ltd ChD 1992
The court considered the power of an English court over a foreign resident under section 133.
Held: In contrast with the private examination provisions, on its true construction section 133 applies to those who are within the class of persons . .

Cited by:

See AlsoRe Seagull Manufacturing Co Ltd ChD 3-May-1993
A company director who was resident overseas may be subject to disqualification proceedings. . .
CitedMasri v Consolidated Contractors International Co Sal and Others HL 30-Jul-2009
The claimant sought to enforce a judgment debt against a foreign resident company, and for this purpose to examine or have examined a director who lived abroad. The defendant said that the rules gave no such power and they did, the power was outside . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Company, Insolvency

Updated: 09 April 2022; Ref: scu.85879