Mulkerrins v Pricewaterhouse Coopers: HL 31 Jul 2003

The claimant sought damages from her former accountants for failing to protect her from bankruptcy. The receiver had unnecessarily caused great difficulties in making their claim that such an action vested in them. The defendants had subsequently, and brazenly sought to avoid laibility by denying the claimant’s standing to sue them.
Held: The claim by the bankrupt was of a special kind, it related to the very bankruptcy itself, and so could not vest in the trustee. Right or wrong this was in any event res judicata between these parties. As to the respondents, their right to be heard on this issue was severely limited.
Lord Millett said that a bankrupt’s creditors are privies of the trustee in bankruptcy and generally bound by res judicata estoppels binding a trustee.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Millett, Lord Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
[2003] 4 All ER 1, [2003] All ER (D) 539, [2004] PNLR 5, [2003] UKHL 41, Gazette 02-Oct-2003, [2003] 1 WLR 1937, [2003] BPIR 1357
Bailii, House of Lords
England and Wales
Appeal fromMulkerrins v Pricewaterhousecoopers (A Firm) CA 12-Jan-2001
A trustee in bankruptcy had had vested in him the legal title to an action for damages for the loss to personal reputation and status of the bankrupt.
Held: A declaration that he had no interest in a claim for damages against a former . .
CitedOrd v Upton CA 7-Jan-2000
A bankrupt labourer (aged 30) after the bankruptcy order issued a writ against a doctor who had treated him for back pain before the bankruptcy order, claiming damages for negligence, including damages for pain and suffering as well as damages for . .
CitedCrown Estates Commissioners v Dorset County Council 1990
Res judicata (more properly estoppel per rem judicatam) is a form of estoppel which gives effect to the policy of the law that the parties to a judicial decision should not afterwards be allowed to re-litigate the same question, even though the . .
CitedBeckham v Drake HL 11-Jul-1849
Non-property assets do not pass on bankruptcy
An action was brought on a contract for hiring and service, where the plaintiff was to serve for seven years, and the defendant to pay weekly wages during that time; and the breach was a dismissal during the seven years. The plaintiff, after this . .
CitedLinden Gardens Trust Ltd v Lenesta Sludge Disposals Ltd and Others; St. Martins Property Corporation Ltd v Sir Robert McAlpine HL 8-Dec-1993
A contractor had done defective work in breach of a building contract with the developer but the loss was suffered by a third party who had by then purchased the development. The developer recovered the loss suffered by the purchaser.
Held: . .
CitedWilson v United Counties Bank Ltd HL 1920
Bank’s duty to client’s reputation and credit
Major Wilson had left England on active service soon after the beginning of the Great War, leaving his business affairs, in a fairly precarious state, with his bank. The jury found that the bank had failed in its duty to supervise his business . .
CitedGrady v HM Prison Service CA 11-Apr-2003
The applicant appealed striking out of her employment claims against the respondent. She had been made bankrupt after lodging her appeal to the EAT, and the EAT had held that she lacked standing to pursue her claim.
Held: Employment claims are . .
CitedStein v Blake HL 18-May-1995
Where A and B each have claims against each other and A is insolvent, the common amount is set off, and the net difference remains as a debt due.
Hoffmann L said: ‘It is a matter of common occurrence for an individual to become insolvent while . .
CitedIn re Moritz CA 1960
Trustees had denied the defendants a sight of the exhibits to affidavits. Their’ counsel argued for a settled practice that where an application is made by trustees for directions of the Beddoe kind, then the proposed defendant beneficiaries should . .
CitedIn re Eaton 1964
. .
CitedSmith v Croft (No 2) 1987
A registered shareholder who is absolute beneficial owner can vote as he pleases, subject only to rather imprecise constraints imposed by company law.
It is essential to the exception to the rule in Foss v Harbottle that the alleged wrongdoing . .

Cited by:
CitedKhan v Trident Safeguards Ltd and others CA 19-May-2004
The claimant had ben made bankrupt. The defendant argued that his claim vested in the trustee.
Held: A discrimination claim was hybrid in nature rather than purely personal, and so it vested in the trustee. However the real issue was the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.185222