Is it just us in the NTI newsroom who think that our sector and the stuff that goes on in and around it is so insanely interesting that we feel genuinely sorry for astronauts, financial advisors, auditors (there but for the grace of God ...), pirates, etc., etc.?
One of our intrepid newshounds sought out this story that was reported from the High Court on Monday (31 July) and we wanted to share it with you. It is a case mysteriously named 'Re A Company', so dark and anonymous that it had us at 'The court held ...', about two sorry protagonists; an applicant (to the court) that provided electrical services on building projects to a sub-contractor and a respondent, an agency which sourced and supplied vetted labourers.
Stay with us.
The respondent agreed to provide electrically qualified operatives, to be charged over and above an amount of £147,230.40 the applicant had already paid to the respondent. This left an unpaid balance, of a maximum of £16,889.25. The applicant said that there was no way it was going to pay the alleged unpaid amount, as the quality of sub-contractors supplied by the respondent was, frankly, a bit rubbish. It then cross-claimed for £186,165.98, which was guaranteed to get the veins popping on the respondent's forehead, and certainly enough for them to issue a winding-up petition against the applicant for the unpaid amount.
The centre of this case is that the applicant sought an order to restrain the respondent from presenting a winding-up petition. The court held that, it would need full disclosure and cross examination of the managing director of the applicant and his on-site managers, but the evidence adduced was sufficient to show a strongly arguable, genuine and substantial cross-claim equalling or exceeding £16,889.25. Or, in other words; applicant, you have a point. (Imagine the vein on the respondent's forehead now.)
The court said (maybe the most interesting thing in the entire story ...) that there is a 'minimum evidential threshold' that a respondent (a petitioner in a possible Compulsory winding-up process) has to cross, and the applicant had demonstrated on the evidence a genuine, strongly arguable cross-claim in contract/misrepresentation which comfortably exceeded the allegedly-owed £16,889.25 and had 'real prospects of success'.
The High Court allowed the applicant's application for an order to restrain the respondent from presenting a winding-up petition. The respondent went 'pop'.