The High Court has made a Disqualification Order against the director of an entertainments ticketing business.
The Order was made for two years against Rory Brendan Burns (75) of Balmoral Avenue, Belfast, in respect of his conduct as a director of Seatem Attraction Tickets (UK) Ltd (“the Company”).
The Company was involved in providing tickets for entertainment events with a registered office at 3rd Floor, Seatem House, 38-32 Alfred Street, Belfast, BT2 8EP. The Company went into Liquidation on 23 September 2010 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £11,611,683. There was a total of £1,575,990 owing as Share Capital, resulting in an estimated deficiency as regards members of £13,187,673.
The Court made the disqualification Order against Rory Brendan Burns on 17 October 2023 based on the following unfit conduct:
- Causing or permitting Seatem Attraction Tickets (UK) Limited to retain £333,036.92 properly due to the Crown in respect of NIC and PAYE;
- causing or permitting Seatem Attraction Tickets (UK) Limited to fail to pay £71,223.66 properly due to the Crown in respect of Corporation Tax;
- failing to file accounts for the year ended 31 December 2008;
- causing or permitting Seatem Attraction Tickets (UK) Limited to fail to file the annual returns for the years ended 28 February 2007 to 28 February 2009, inclusive, within the prescribed periods with Companies House and failing to file the annual return for the year ended 28 February 2010; and
- failing to fully co-operate with the Official Receiver in contravention of Article 199(2) of the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 by failing to provide the Official Receiver with information/documentation as requested.
The Department has accepted 11 Disqualification Undertakings and the Court has made seven Disqualification Orders in the financial year commencing 1 April 2023.
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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