Tuesday, 14 August 2012

UK: England and Wales: unfair prejudice - equitable considerations, directors' duties and the affairs of the company

The High Court gave judgment last Friday in McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Investments Ltd & Ors [2012] EWHC 2343 (Ch). The outcome: a shareholder's petition for unfair prejudice, under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006, was unsuccessful and other claims were also dismissed. Unsuccessful petitions are not that unusual but the case has attracted considerable media interest because of the identities of the parties: see, for example, here or here. Indeed, a summary of the decision has been published on the Judiciary of England and Wales website: see here (pdf).

The identity of the parties aside, the judgment is interesting because it illustrates the difficulties shareholders will face in seeking to establish the existence of equitable considerations affecting the manner in which legal rights are exercised. There is also some discussion of the statutory duties of directors under the Companies Act 2006 as well as the concept of the "affairs of the company" under section 994.

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