In the latest twist in the tale of Michael Stainer’s legal attempts to roll back the inexorable tide of litigation, he fell foul of Mrs Justice May in the High Court. She stayed proceedings for judicial review and an application for an injunction against the new Tribunal-appointed manager of the Grand, Mrs Alison Mooney. Her reasons provided a very sharp reminder that, as an undischarged bankrupt, Mr Stainer, has no right to litigate or represent a limited company, on pain of criminal sanctions.
The ‘urgent’ application was listed for a 2 hour hearing on 13 February 2019. In the words of Mrs Justice May (pictured below):
“………on 11 February 2019 an application for an adjournment was lodged at court “purportedly” on behalf of the Applicant company, Hallam Estates Ltd, but signed by Michael Stainer. The reason for seeking an adjournment was given as “Counsel for the Claimant—Kerry Bretherton QC—is engaged in court on another case that day”. The person purporting to act ….. is Michael Stainer — is an undischarged bankrupt. It is an offence under section 11(1) of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 for an undischarged bankrupt to “..directly or indirectly… take part in the promotion formation or management of a company”.
The proceedings were stayed pending confirmation by Hallam Estates Ltd of “the identity of the person or persons properly authorised to represent it in these proceedings.”
In conclusion, Mrs Justice May said:
“In these circumstances it is unclear who is properly authorised to represent the company in pursuing these proceedings, for instance in giving instructions to counsel (if indeed she has instructions to act)”.
In other words, Mrs Justice May has indicated that Mr Stainer acted unlawfully in filing an application on behalf of a limited company as an undischarged bankrupt. She also appears to suggest that Kerry Bretherton QC (pictured) might not even have been instructed. This is reinforced by the fact that the original applications, which had to be issued twice after the first set were rejected, were in fact submitted by Mr and Mrs Stainer without any evidence of legal support or advice. It would be most unlikely that any barrister would pick up an action commenced by a bankrupt litigant in person.
The background to all this was an attempt by the Stainers, with the tacit support of the new director, Robert Graham Moss, to revoke the Management Order issued on July 5th 2018 by the First Tier Property Tribunal, and to have their latest failed application for leave to appeal this order overturned. This was, in effect, an attempt to strip Mrs Mooney of the extensive powers to manage the residential part of the Grand that have so angered past and present directors of Hallam Estates.
In the meantime, other investigations into the conduct of Mr Stainer both as a director, and subsequent to his bankruptcy, are continuing. We understand that Mrs Justice May’s decision and accompanying reasoning is already in the hands of the Compliance and Targeting Team Investigations and Enforcement Services of the Insolvency Service, and a disqualification hearing is scheduled for March 19th. This could see Mr Stainer’s automatic one year disqualification from acting as a director extended to up to 15 years.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime