The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted disqualification undertakings from the directors of a company operating in the hotel business.
The undertakings were received for four years from John Miskelly (59) and three years from Helen Miskelly (55) both of Crabtree Road, Ballynahinch, Co. Down, BT24 8RH in respect of their conduct as directors of Yorkshire House Limited (“the company”).
The Company traded as Ten Square Hotel from premises at 10 Donegall Square South, Belfast, BT1 5JD. The Company went into Administration on 20 January 2015 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £129,000.
The Department accepted the disqualification undertakings from John and Helen Miskelly on 23 March 2023 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:
- The directors failed to adequately address the affairs of the company;
- The directors caused and permitted the Company to fail to file annual accounts for the periods 31 October 2009, 31 October 2010, 31 March 2012 and 31 March 2013 within the prescribed time periods and failed to file accounts for the year ended 31 March 2014 at all;
- John Miskelly failed to maintain and/or preserve proper books and records for the Company; and
- Helen Miskelly caused and permitted a failure to maintain and/or preserve proper books and records for the Company.
The Department has accepted seventeen Disqualification Undertakings and the Court has made one Disqualification Order in the financial year commencing 1 April 2022.
Notes to editors:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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