Smith (Administrator of Cosslett (Contractors) Limited) v Bridgend County Borough Council; In re Cosslett (Contractors) Ltd: HL 8 Nov 2001

The standard building contract allowed a contractor to take plant and equipment from a site and sell it in payment of sums due under the contract, upon the other contractor becoming insolvent. It was said that this power amounted to a charge over the company’s assets, and should have registered at Companies House. Upon entering receivership, the contractor vacated the site, but the respondent found another contractor to continue the work using the same substantial equipment. The contractor’s receiver alleged the contract was void for non-registration.
Held: The clause operated as a floating charge, and was void as against the liquidator or administrator. It should have been registered.


Lord Hoffmann, Lords Bingham, Browne-Wilkinson and Rodger; Lord Scott (dissenting)


[2001] UKHL 58, [2002] 1 AC 336, 80 Con LR 172, [2001] 3 WLR 1347, [2002] 1 All ER 292, [2002] 1 BCLC 77, [2002] TCLR 7, [2001] BCC 740, [2002] BLR 160, [2001] NPC 161


House of Lords, Bailii


Companies Act 1985 395


England and Wales


CitedIndependent Automatic Sales Ltd v Knowles and Foster ChD 1962
The company in liquidation had sold machines on hire-purchase. It sued the finance company to recover hire-purchase agreements and other securities which it had charged to secure the repayment of advances. When the finance company relied upon the . .
Appeal fromSmith (Administrator of Cosslett (Contractors) Ltd) v Bridgend County Borough Council CA 19-Jan-2000
. .

Cited by:

CitedMarcq v Christie, Manson and Woods Ltd CA 23-May-2003
The claimant’s stolen painting was put up for sale by the defendant. On being withdrawn, they returned it to the person who had brought it in. The claimant sought damages.
Held: There was no reported case in which a court has had to consider . .
CitedBurton (Collector of Taxes) v Mellham Ltd HL 15-Feb-2006
The claimant sought interest on an overpayment of Advance Corporation Tax. The tax itself had been paid late, and the Collector claimed a set off.
Held: The claim to DTR could not be described as an attempt at self-help. It had a statutory . .
CitedOnline Catering Ltd v Acton and Another CA 10-Feb-2010
The claimant agreed for the defendant to repair its fleet of vehicles. The defendant, having fees outstanding, entered the claimants’ premises and removed vehicles saying falsely that they were to be repaired, and then refused to return them. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Company, Construction, Torts – Other

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.166805