West Mercia Safetywear Ltd v Dodds: CA 1988

If a company continues to trade whilst insolvent but in the expectation that it would return to profitability, it should be regarded as trading not for the benefit of the shareholders, but for the creditors also. If there is a possibility of insolvency, even a written consent will not totally safeguard against a claim from a liquidator.


Dillon LJ, Croom-Johnson LJ and Caulfield J


[1988] BCLC 250, [1988] BCC 30


England and Wales


ApprovedKinsela v Russell Kinsela Pty Ltd (In Liq) 1986
(New South Wales) If directors act in a way to promote their own interest or promote the private interest of others, they have not acted in the best interests of the company.
Street CJ said: ‘In a solvent company the proprietary interests of . .

Cited by:

CitedThe Secretary of State for Trade and Industry v Goldberg, Mcavoy ChD 26-Nov-2003
The Secretary of State sought a disqualification order. The director argued that one shoul not be made in the absence of some breach of legal duty, some dishonesty should be shown.
Held: The answer was a mixture of fact and law. A breach of . .
CitedCrown Dilmun, Dilmun Investments Limited v Nicholas Sutton, Fulham River Projects Limited ChD 23-Jan-2004
There was a contract for the sale of Craven Cottage football stadium, conditional upon the grant of non-onerous planning permissions. It was claimed that the contract had been obtained by the defendant employee in breach of his fiduciary duties to . .
CitedUltraframe (UK) Ltd v Fielding and others ChD 27-Jul-2005
The parties had engaged in a bitter 95 day trial in which allegations of forgery, theft, false accounting, blackmail and arson. A company owning patents and other rights had become insolvent, and the real concern was the destination and ownership of . .
CitedBilta (UK) Ltd and Others v Nazir and Others ChD 30-Jul-2012
The company was said to have engaged in a fraud based on false European Trading Scheme Allowances, and had been wound up by the Revenue. The liquidators, in the company name, now sought recovery from former directors and associates.
Held: The . .
CitedJetivia Sa and Another v Bilta (UK) Ltd and Others SC 22-Apr-2015
The liquidators of Bilta had brought proceedings against former directors and the appellant alleging that they were party to an unlawful means conspiracy which had damaged the company by engaging in a carousel fraud with carbon credits. On the . .
CitedJetivia Sa and Another v Bilta (UK) Ltd and Others CA 31-Jul-2013
Defendants appealed against refusal of their request for a summary striking out for lack of jurisdiction, of the claims against them arising from their management of the insolvency of the first defendant. . .
CitedBTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA and others SC 5-Oct-2022
Sequana’s subsidiary was liable to indemnify BAT for costs arising from the clean-up of a polluted river. The directors of the subsidiary resolved that it should pay a substantial dividend to Sequana, without – BAT says – leaving enough money in the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Company, Insolvency

Leading Case

Updated: 06 October 2022; Ref: scu.188615