TCPC Management Ltd v Windrush Alliance UK Community Interest Company

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeParfitt
Judgment Date12 April 2024
Neutral Citation[2024] EWHC 809 (Ch)
CourtChancery Division
Docket NumberCase No: CR-2023-005013
Between:
TCPC Management Limited
Petitioner
and
Windrush Alliance UK Community Interest Company
Respondent

[2024] EWHC 809 (Ch)

Before:

DEPUTY INSOLVENCY AND COMPANIES COURT JUDGE Parfitt

Case No: CR-2023-005013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS OF ENGLAND AND WALES

INSOLVENCY AND COMPANIES LIST (ChD)

IN THE MATTER OF WINDRUSH ALLIANCE UK COMMUNITY INTEREST

COMPANY

AND IN THE MATTER OF THE INSOLVENCY ACT 1986

Royal Courts of Justice

Rolls Building

Fetter Lane

London EC4A 1NL

Aidan Casey KC (instructed by Burgess Okoh Saunders Limited) for the Petitioner

Ian Mayes KC and John-Paul Tettmar-Saleh (instructed by Devonshires Solicitors LLP) for the Respondent

Hearing dates: 9 and 12 February 2024; written submissions 27 March 2024

Remote hand-down: This judgment was handed down remotely at 10:30am on 12 April 2024 by circulation to the parties or their representatives by email and by release to The National Archives.

Parfitt Deputy Insolvency and Companies Court Judge
1

This is a consequential judgment dealing with the costs of an application by Windrush Alliance UK Community Interest Company (the “Company”) to strike out a winding up petition presented against it by TCPC Management Limited (the “Petitioner”). Judgment on that application is reported at [2024] EWHC 683 (Ch) (the “Judgment”).

2

The Judgment was handed down remotely on 22 March 2024 by circulation to the parties and release to the National Archives. The parties agreed an order consequential on the Judgment, which provided for them to file by 27 March 2024 written submissions on costs and brief written submissions in support of any application for permission to appeal. The order provided that the parties were to file dates to avoid for a consequentials hearing with a time estimate of one hour, but that hearing was to be vacated in the event that the questions of costs and permission to appeal could be dealt with on paper.

3

On 27 March 2024 both sides filed costs submissions. The Company filed draft grounds of appeal.

4

Having considered these submissions, I have formed the view that it is appropriate to deal with consequential matters without a hearing. This judgment sets out my reasons for the consequential order I will make.

5

I have provided the Company with my reasons for refusing its application for permission to appeal in a separate Form N460. Permission to appeal will need to be sought from a single Judge of the High Court. As provided by the 22 March 2024 order, the 21-day time period for doing so will run from 12 April 2024.

6

In relation to costs, the Petitioner seeks an order for indemnity costs; the Company concedes that it is liable for costs on the standard basis.

7

Having reviewed the without prejudice save as to costs correspondence, and having considered the matter as a whole, it does not seem to me that the present case is outside the norm such that an award of indemnity costs is justified. The Petitioner complains that the Company's conduct in pursuing an unfounded strike out application including hopeless grounds, in the face of clear invitations by the Petitioner to come to an amicable settlement, means that the Company's conduct has been outside the ordinary and reasonable conduct of proceedings. With hindsight, the Company could well be subjected to those criticisms. But hindsight should not be applied in this assessment. What matters is the Company's approach as the matter progressed, assessed in its full context. Looking at it in this way, the Company's conduct is not wholly outside the ordinary and reasonable way in which litigation ought to be conducted. Bringing an application which fails (without more) is not a justification for an award of indemnity costs. The Company's failure to engage in settlement discussions as fully as the Petitioner would have liked appears to have reflected the Company's belief that it was the victim of a serious wrong at the hands of the Petitioner. Although that belief was ultimately unjustified on the evidence the Company was able to lead, there is no reason to doubt that the Company's arguments were put forward in good faith, or that it was acting unreasonably or inappropriately in raising the matters which it did.

8

I will therefore order that the Company pay the Petitioner's costs of the strike-out application on the standard basis.

9

As to whether the...

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