A judgment handed down on Wednesday 20 March found in favour of Mishcon de Reya's client, high profile interior designer Dr Vanessa Brady OBE, who was defending an application brought by the liquidators of famous Mayfair night club British Luxury Club (BLC).
In 2014, BLC enlisted Dr Brady's interior design services, however Dr Brady received only part of the design fee for her work. Following licensing issues, the club closed down shortly after Dr Brady completed the initial design work and the companies behind BLC eventually went into liquidation, including Tanmon Limited, the entity which paid Dr Brady for her work.
The liquidators of Tanmon, Keith Algie and Lindsey Cooper of RSM UK Group LLP, represented by Matthew Whyatt of Alexander Whyatt LLP, wrote to Dr Brady in late 2017, seeking wide ranging information in respect of the payments made to her by the company, which totalled £32,500. An application was issued in July 2018, using the liquidators' powers under s.234 and s.236 of the Insolvency Act 1986, seeking return of the payments she had received. The liquidators pursued Dr Brady consistently for months, appearing to believe that she had conspired with the director of BLC to strip assets from Tanmon Limited prior to its liquidation and did not accept her evidence.
Following a cross examination, the case was won entirely on factual evidence, with District Judge Lampkin dismissing the application and awarding Dr Brady her costs, including an interim payment of £35,000.
Mishcon de Reya Legal Director Hannah Blom-Cooper, who led the team acting for Dr Brady, commented:
"This case demonstrates the importance of remaining calm under cross-examination and giving evidence coherently, allowing the facts to speak for themselves.
"Defending against claims from liquidators can be extremely intimidating because of their typically unrelenting pursuit of claims. As District Judge Lampkin said, in his view, they 'were never going to stop'
"For anyone who finds themselves caught up in such a claim, it is important to seek legal advice as early as possible so that their interests can be properly protected."
Suzi Sendama, Associate at Mishcon de Reya, also commented:
“We are very pleased that our client has been able to clear her name. There was no justification for the liquidators' continued pursuit of this action after Vanessa had explained the basis for the payments from Tanmon, but her tenacious and principled defence of her position won out in the end.”