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Andrew Brown successful in the appeal of Khan v Singh-Sall & Habib Bank AG Zurich [2022] EWHC 1913 (Ch)

Andrew Brown recently appeared in the appeal of Khan v Singh-Sall & Habib Bank AG Zurich [2022] EWHC 1913 (Ch) heard by David Moyhuddin KC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge).

Andrew appeared on behalf of Habib Bank as Second Respondent to the appeal concerning a dismissal of the Appellant’s application to annul his bankruptcy. The background makes interesting reading as the bankrupt, Mr Khan, had successfully argued at first instance (wherein Katie Longstaff appeared for Habib Bank and Rueben Comiskey for the trustee in bankruptcy) that the petition debt was disputed and the bankruptcy order ought not to have been made pursuant to s.282(1)(a) Insolvency Act 1986, but the judge refused to exercise her discretion to annul the bankruptcy due to Mr Khan’s conduct in the bankruptcy and overall insolvency.

On appeal, Mr Khan argued that in such circumstances the court should only refuse an annulment where there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ militating against an annulment. Andrew argued no such test existed under the statute or the previous century of case law, and the Court agreed with Andrew’s submissions, holding that there is no exceptional circumstances test fettering the Court’s discretion to refuse to annul. A further novel point never raised in any previous reported decision is the effect of an annulment on the running of time for the purpose of the Limitation Act 1980 against debts provable within the bankruptcy.

Andrew argued, and the Court agreed, that annulment had the effect of putting the bankrupt back into the position pre-bankruptcy as if there had never been a bankruptcy, with the effect that time must be deemed to run for the purpose of limitation against debts proven in the bankruptcy. This is an important point for practitioners moving forward when considering annulment applications where the application is being heard a significant time after the original bankruptcy order.

Andrew was instructed by Alan Meiklejohn and his team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Andrew regularly deals with issues related to annulments, and wrote the chapter on annulment of bankruptcies in Insolvency Litigation: A Practical Guide 3rd Ed.

You can read the full judgement, here.