The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted a disqualification undertaking from the director of a company operating in licensed restaurants.
The undertaking was received for five years from Philip George Patterson (45) of Gleneden Park, Newtownabbey in respect of his conduct as director of Approachable Leisure Limited.
The Company traded from 27 Hibernia Street, Holywood, Co. Down BT18 9JE and went into Liquidation on 29 August 2018 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £353,720.41. There was a total of £100 owing as share capital, resulting in an estimated deficiency as regards members of £353,820.41.
The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Philip George Patterson on 26 July 2022 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:
- causing and permitting the Company to operate a policy of discrimination against the crown by retaining monies which were properly payable to the crown resulting in a loss of monies properly due to the crown from 2015/16. Causing and permitting the Company to retain a total of £416,099.59 due to the Crown as at the date of liquidation. This represented 75% of the Company’s overall deficiency in respect of PAYE / NIC and VAT properly payable to the Crown. Furthermore, operating a policy of discrimination in that payments were made to trade creditors at a time when the HMRC debt continued to increase;
- failing to learn from previous insolvencies and / or has demonstrated a repeated pattern of unfit conduct;
- causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with the relevant legislation in that the confirmation statement for the period ended 01 April 2018 was not filed within the prescribed period; and
- failing to comply with the relevant legislation in that the annual accounts for the year ending 31 August 2017 were not filed.
The Department has accepted two Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1 April 2022.
Notes to editors:
1. Insolvency Practitioners acting as voluntary liquidators, administrative receivers and administrators have a duty to report unfit conduct to the Insolvency Service within the Department for the Economy.
2. The aim of the Department is to bring disqualification proceedings against those directors of failed companies who have abused the privilege of limited liability status through negligence, incompetence or lack of commercial probity. The legislation contained in the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (“the 2002 Order”) is for the protection of the public and trading community but its operation should not inhibit genuine enterprise.
3. In cases where a person is subject to either a Disqualification Order made by the Court or a Disqualification Undertaking accepted by the Department, that person shall not be a director of a company, act as a receiver of a company's property or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company unless he has the leave of the High Court. A disqualified person cannot obtain permission to act as an Insolvency Practitioner.
4. Article 9 of the 2002 Order provides that where a director is found to be unfit he must be disqualified for a minimum period of two years, up to a maximum of fifteen years. The Courts have decided that the level of seriousness of unfit conduct can fall into three brackets with the top bracket of periods over ten years reserved for particularly serious cases, six to ten years reserved for cases which do not merit the top bracket and two to five years for cases where, although disqualification is mandatory, the case is less serious.
5. The 2002 Order also allows directors, with the agreement of the Department, to avoid the need for a court hearing by offering an acceptable Disqualification Undertaking. This has exactly the same legal effect as a Disqualification Order made by the court, and will usually include a schedule identifying the director’s unfit conduct. The consequences of breaching a Disqualification Undertaking are the same as those for breaching a Disqualification Order.
6. If anybody contravenes a Disqualification Order or breaches their Disqualification Undertaking they may be committing a criminal offence and could go to prison for up to two years or face a fine or both. Any person with information to suggest that a disqualified person has acted in contravention of this provision should contact The Insolvency Service’s Directors Disqualification Unit on 028 90 548582.
7. The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.
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