Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal/Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

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A targeted outsider's right to challenge local winding-up proceedings PricewaterhouseCoopers v Saad Investments Co Ltd 2014 UKPC 35 (10 November 2014), 2014 1 WLR 4482 (PC)

Alastair D. Smith


The problem in PricewaterhouseCoopers v Saad Investments Co Ltd 2014 UKPC 35 (10 November 2014), 2014 1 WLR 4482 (PC) was that the Cayman liquidators, frustrated by the unhelpfulness of the company's previous auditors in supplying documents and information to help the liquidators get to the bottom of the company's problems, then obtained a winding-up order in Bermuda, the auditors' home jurisdiction, to have them examined. The auditors appealed successfully to the Privy Council in London to have the winding-up stayed. The facts and the reasoning of this senior court are described, and then critically discussed in this case comment. The auditors were erroneously added to the statutory list of persons who may apply to the court for the stay of the winding-up proceedings. Still, the decision may be supported for the finding that, on the particular facts of the case, the auditors had standing to challenge the winding-up application because the Bermudian court of first instance had no jurisdiction under the relevant statutes and the auditors were the direct targets of the application to wind up the company and examine them. The outcome of the decision carries important implications for the development of company law in England and Bermuda, and for the corresponding company law in South Africa, where the decision is of persuasive authority.

Keywords: Cross-border insolvency; companies; list of persons who may seek a stay of a winding-up order; grounds for challenging a winding-up order

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