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Insolvency Litigation

Volume 532: debated on Tuesday 13 September 2011

1. What recent discussions he has had with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Insolvency Service on the viability of insolvency litigation following the implementation of the reforms proposed by Lord Justice Jackson. (71306)

The Department has received many representations about different aspects of implementing the reforms proposed by Lord Justice Jackson, which we are taking forward in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. I and my officials continue to have discussions with Government Departments and others on implementation generally, including with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Insolvency Service in relation to insolvency proceedings.

In June, the Minister said that he was discussing with HMRC and the Insolvency Service the specific implications of the Jackson reform for the punishment of dodgy directors of insolvent companies, with a view to reaching a satisfactory conclusion. Three months down the line, what conclusion has been reached?

Our current position is not to depart from Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations on recoverability, with the sole exception that we have outlined in the Bill. However, the Government are aware of the particular issues concerning the impact of abolishing conditional fee agreement recoverability in relation to insolvency and related proceedings. I and my officials will continue to assess and discuss the implications.

Will the Minister find time to meet me to discuss the case of a company based in Staffordshire that sold hot tubs and which defrauded many of my constituents? It took their money, went into insolvency and became a phoenix company.

I shall listen to the circumstances of my hon. Friend’s case, but it might be one for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills rather than the Ministry of Justice. If it is relevant to my Department, however, I will be happy to meet him.