A bankrupt was found to be in contempt of court following years
of failing to comply with the terms of multiple court orders
compelling him to disclose information about his financial affairs
with a view to entering into an IPOA.
The respondent (R) was made bankrupt on 4
October 2004. He was never discharged due to steadfastly failing to
cooperate with his obligations to disclose financial information. R
was made bankrupt a second time in 2013, but was automatically
discharged from this on the year anniversary of the making of that
The present case concerned the application of the exasperated
trustee in bankruptcy for the committal of R following various
breaches of multiple orders of the court. In total, the court had,
over the years, issued five orders demanding the provision of
financial information with increasingly robust sanctions in an
attempt to glean a clear view of R's financial position. Any
information elicited appeared only to confuse the position and beg
The application was heard in the absence of R who had left the
country for health issues.
Warren J considered it appropriate that the present application
be heard in the absence of R by reference to the checklist set out
in JSC BTA Bank v Solodchenk  EWHC 1613 (Ch) which
required the Judge to consider (amongst other things) whether:
The absent party had been served with
notice of the hearing (with sufficient time to prepare for the
hearing) and all other necessary documentation;
Any reason had been given for the
An adjournment was likely to secure
attendance by the absent party;
Any undue prejudice would be caused
to the applicant by any delay.
Warren J was satisfied that the criminal standard of proof
necessary to establish contempt of court was met, based in part on
R's continued failure to disclose assets which he in fact
owned; failure in his obligation in respect of full and frank
disclosure; and failure to disclose income resulting from
Witnesses can, in various circumstances, be subpoenaed by the Courts of overseas jurisdictions to attend to give evidence by way of depositions within that jurisdiction. So why not take that one step further and ask a foreign court to subpoena the witness to give evidence by live satellite video link to a Court in London? This would be the next best thing to having the witness present in Court. Indeed, the Commercial Court is increasingly amenable to evidence being given in this way (albeit on a
Gratuitous alienation is one of the most familiar parts of our law and yet relatively rarely seems to come to court. That may be because the law is so well understood that there is little left to debate...
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