Monday, 28 February 2011

Pari Passu Rhetoric on the Scales

Professor Riz Mokal's 2001 exposition of the function of pari passu in English insolvency law (Mokal, R.'Priority as Pathology: The Pari Passu Myth’ [2001] CLJ 581-621) and, Mr Look Chan Ho's 2006 review of Professor Sir Roy Goode QC's third edition (Ho, LC. 'Goode's swan song to corporate insolvency law' [2006] EBLR 1727), amongst other work, highlight a schism between two camps. There are those who view pari passu as being 'fundamental', 'cardinal', 'a cornerstone', etc, and those, like the authors noted above, who view the role and reality of pari passu with more precision and as being merely one of a number of priority rules. There are of course different views of pari passu within this broader debate. 

Professor Vanessa Finch and Mr Ho have both offered explanations of how pari passu works in reality. In the second edition of her treatise (Finch, Vanessa. Corporate insolvency law: perspectives and principles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009) Finch defines a  strong version of pari passu which operates so “that unsecured creditors as a whole, are paid pro rata to the extent of pre-insolvency claims.” Her weak version of pari passu operates so that “…such unsecured creditors share rateably within the particular ranking that draws distinctions between different classes of unsecured creditors (e.g. preferred employees and ordinary unsecured creditors).” Ho also divides his conceptualisation into two parts (see Goode's Swan Song - cited above). His orthodox version states that “all creditors of a particular pre-insolvency form (unsecured creditors as a group) share equally.” His multi-layered version operates so “creditors that are similarly ranked by insolvency law share equally within their given rank.” (Ho)

With these definitions and tensions in mind I thought it would be interesting to construct a table which compares pari passu rhetoric. The following table (and therefore this post) will grow as further sources are added: 



For Pari Passu Being ‘Fundamental’, ‘Cardinal’, ‘Cornerstone’ etc
Against Pari Passu being a substantive principle
“many of the existing distributional rules…are predicated on the pari passu grundnorm” (Milman Priority)
“the pari passu rule is a crude standard to apply in the legal system of the late 20th century.” (Milman Priority)
‘England’s very first bankruptcy statute….laid down the cardinal principle of distribution among creditors which, in theory, holds to this day’ (Goode Death)
“pari passu is only one of the many rules of priority…it is thus wrong to say that the pari passu principle underpins collectivity.” (Ho Swan)
‘equality of division among creditors is one of the  (if not the most) fundamental principles of the law of insolvency and is at the very heart of the whole statutory schemes of bankruptcy and winding up’ (Keay & Walton)
“although the pari passu rule is retained there is little point in placing too much reliance on it if the company’s assets have been dissipated to such an extent that a faithful application of that principle of distribution only secures an equality of misery.” (Milman Priority)
“The pari passu principle is often said to constitute a fundamental rule of corporate insolvency law” (Finch 2nd Ed).
“We consider that the principle of pari passu distribution of the insolvent’s estate should continue to form a cornerstone of any new insolvency legislation…We accept that no one should be able to contract out of insolvency law, and pari passu distribution in particular.”  (Cork Report)
“Equality is equity. That maxim is a theme of bankruptcy administration – one of the cornerstones of the bankruptcy structure. All persons similarly situated are entitled to equality in treatment in the distribution of the assets of the bankrupt estate” (Seligson preferences)
“It would be a serious misconception to suppose that the pari passu principle operates in a comprehensive way…..the pari passu principle is applied sequentially in relation to certain, discrete groups of claims, ranked into categories according to a fixed system of priorities” (Fletcher 3rd ed)
“107 Distribution of company’s property 
Subject to the provisions of this Act as to preferential payments, the company’s property in a voluntary winding up shall on the winding up be applied in satisfaction of the company’s liabilities pari passu and, subject to that application, shall (unless the articles otherwise provide) be distributed among the members according to their rights and interests in the company.” (IA86)
‘the pari passu principle, rather than being the all-prevailing rule that it is supposed to be, is in fact more like a convenient default principle’ (Fletcher 3rd ed)
“It is a cardinal principle of insolvency law that the claims of creditors shall rank pari passu and that dividends shall be distributed rateably: share and share alike.” (Goode Favourable)
“In the light of these pronouncements from the highest courts in the land in favour of the pari passu rule [British Eagle, etc] it is perhaps surprising that attempts to circumvent it have proved so successful in practice in the 1970s.” (Milman Priority)
“Since the paru passu principle has been recognised so widely and for so long as vital, and since it serves such desirable aims as orderliness in liquidation and fairness to all creditors, any deviation from it must be a cause for concern.” (Mokal Myth)
“In many jurisdictions three developments have occurred which together have largely undermined the pari passu rule.” (Goode Favourable)
“the pari passu rule although fundamental is not immutable and its seems to me that in this case its application has necessarily to be restricted if section 176A is to have its desired economic effect.” (Patten, J in Re Airbase)

“in the face of these provisions the pari passu rule is necessarily modified so as to differentiate between unsecured creditors with no form of security and the unsecured claims of secured creditors…the pari passu rule although fundamental is not immutable and its seems to me that in this case its application has necessarily to be restricted if section 176A is to have its desired economic effect.” (Patten, J in Re Airbase)

“…they can be said to fall outside the pari passu rule rather than constitute true exceptions” (Finch 1st Ed)
“in the end one suspects that the pari passu rule has been adopted by the courts as a convenient ‘fall back’ position that avoids the necessity of making difficult choices where the legislature has failed to take the initiative.” (Milman Priority)

British Eagle International Air Lines Ltd v. Campagnie Nationale Air France [1975] 1 WLR 758, Lord Cross: “such a ‘contracting out’ [of pari passu] must, to my mind, be contrary to public policy.”
“Is Pari Passue Passe?” (Finch passe)
“…insolvency law should provide, as a general principle, that similarly ranked claims are paid pari passu.” (UNCITRAL, 2005).
“The principle of pari passu distribution…has been gravely diminished, first by the extensive range of security rights and analogous devices that have evolved over the years, and, secondly by a massive expansion of the range of debts made preferential by statute.” (Goode 3rd)
“The most fundamental principle of insolvency law is that of pari passu distribution.” (Goode 3rd)
“One cannot help wondering why Goode has to resort to highfalutin insistence on pari passu’s role, when all he means is the principle only has some practical importance and only in a negative sense. It is difficult not to see such repeated and emphatic assertions about the principle’s centrality, fundamentality and all-pervasiveness as rather hyperbolic.” (Ho Swan)
“It is a fundamental principle of insolvency law…that the debtor’s assets are to be distributed pari passu.” (Goode 3rd)
“Goode’s argument merely boils down to this: Many people say it…Instead of being a victim of the echo chamber of authority, Goode should be the powerful voice of reason that punctuates the echo chamber. For good arguments rest on reason, and not merely ducking behind authority. Authority cannot militate indefinitely against reason. Reason is like quicksilver – it will stream to the surface through any available opening. When reason streams upwards, the pari passu authority evaporates into the ether.” (Ho Swan)
“The pari passu principle is one of the most fundamental principles of corporate insolvency law.” (Goode 3rd)
“In sum, saying the pari pass principle is fundamental does not make it so. Saying pari passu underlies insolvency practice does not make it so. Avowing pari passu’s importance merely because others do so certainly does not make it so. And though pari passu’s apologists may continue to calcify their self-affirming echo chamber, their voices ricochet aimlessly in the hollow within.” (Ho Swan).
“The principle of pari passu distribution if assets among ordinary unsecured creditors…has been developed by the courts into a fundamental concept of insolvency law…” (Goode 3rd)
the principle of pari passu distribution has been greatly eroded during the last century or so until today it remains as a theoretical doctrine only, with scarcely any application in real life.” (Cork Report)
“The normal rule in a corporate insolvency is that all creditors are treated on an equal footing – pari passu – and share in insolvency assets pro rata according to their pre-insolvency entitlements…” (Finch Security).
“but now pari passu is not a rule or a restriction or a standard.” (Mokal Myth)
Pari passu as “the foremost principle in the law of insolvency around the world.” (Keay & Walton Preferential)
“The pari passu principle, then, is one manifestation of formal equality in insolvency law. However it is not the only one” (Mokal Myth)

“It is argued here that the pari passu principle is rather less important than it is sometimes made out to be.” (Mokal Myth)

“It [pari passu] does not fulfil any of the functions often attributed to it.” (Mokal Myth)

“It [pari passu] does not constitute an accurate description of how the assets of insolvent companies are in fact distributed.” (Mokal Myth)

“the principle has nothing to do with fairness in liquidation.” (Mokal Myth)

Picture Credit: http://rebeccasward.com/images/thingz/3d_pie_chart.jpg

Friday, 25 February 2011

CCLS establishes new Professor Sir Roy Goode CBE QC chair in commercial law

Queen Mary College, University of London's Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) has advertised a new Professor Sir Roy Goode CBE QC Chair in Commercial Law. Sir Roy (pictured) was the founding director of the centre and was instrumental in obtaining funding for the Crowther Chair in Credit and Commercial Law. This funding represented one of the first funded chairs in an English law school and served as a template for later funding arrangements between professional firms and insolvency scholars, i.e. CMS Cameron Mckenna and Professor Milman, Baker & McKenzie and Dr Frisby, Geldarts LLP and Professor Walters, Norton Rose and Sir Roy, Herbert Smith and Professor Fletcher, KPMG and your faithful correspondent. 

Professor Ian F. Fletcher also became a director of the CCLS in the mid-1990s. There is therefore a long history of insolvency law and scholarship at the centre which makes this an interesting development for the CCLS, but also for the development of insolvency law as a discipline as Sir Roy, together with Professor Fletcher, are both early pioneers of our subject and past directors of the CCLS.


Looking back in 100 years time it may be the case that this new chair is viewed with the same esteem as the Sir Ernest Cassel Chair in Commercial Law at LSE, where previous illustrious incumbents have included:
Picture Credit: http://www.ccls.qmul.ac.uk/images/CCLS-conference_hon_pres2.jpg

Thursday, 24 February 2011

section 283A of the Insolvency Act 1986 considered - Stonham v Ramrattan & Anor [2011] EWCA Civ 119 (16 February 2011)

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Rix, Lord Justice Longmore and  Lord Justice Lloyd (pictured and who delivered the substantive judgment) has handed down its judgment in Stonham v Ramrattan & Anor [2011] EWCA Civ 119 (16 February 2011). The case concerns the issue of whether, and if so how, the provisions of section 283A of the Insolvency Act 1986 apply to the unusual facts of the case. As Lloyd, LJ notes, "The point arises in this way. One of the provisions introduced into the Insolvency Act by the Enterprise Act is section 283A which, speaking generally, gives a trustee in bankruptcy three years from the date of the bankruptcy in which to decide what, if anything, to do about any interest in a house which is the home of the bankrupt, the bankrupt's spouse or civil partner, or a former spouse or civil partner of the bankrupt. If the trustee does not take any action of a kind specified in the section within the three year period, then the bankrupt's former interest ceases to be part of the bankrupt's estate and vests in the bankrupt. I will come to the detail of this shortly. Mr Mather's submission to Mr Justice Mann was, as it is to us, that, accepting that the outcome of the trustee's application is that Mr Ramrattan's beneficial interest in the property either was always part of his bankruptcy estate, or became so under section 339, it ceased to be so after a period of three years and vested in Mr Ramrattan under the section. The point is slightly complicated by the fact that section 283A applies to the case not directly but by virtue of transitional provisions applying where the bankruptcy order was made before 1 April 2004, the commencement date for section 283A. However almost all of the points apply, in principle, in the same way as they would to a bankruptcy under an order made after that date." After an exhaustive exposition of the facts and salient provisions Lloyd, LJ concludes:

"In my judgment, the interest that section 283A(1) is concerned with is an interest which is part of the bankrupt's estate because it was vested in the bankrupt at the commencement of the bankruptcy. It does not include an interest in property which is currently vested in a third party even if it might be recovered for the benefit of the estate by proceedings under section 339 or some similar provision, however plausible and apparently strong the claim might be. Correspondingly, in my judgment, the trustee in bankruptcy does not become aware of such an interest for the purposes of section 283A(5) unless the interest of which he becomes aware is an interest which is already vested in the bankrupt estate because it was vested in the bankrupt at the commencement of the bankruptcy."

Rix, LJ's final sentence is also of note for the purposes of this brief blog. He notes: "...trustees who for no good reason sit on their hands when aware of a claim under section 339 in respect of a matrimonial home, may find themselves in difficulty."

Picture Credit: HM Court Service

More televisual examination of the UK Supreme Court

The recent BBC documentary on the UK Supreme Court (pictured) now has a competitor. See here for More 4's exposition of the inner workings of the court. This documentary has more contributions from the advocates than the more judicial focused BBC effort, but nevertheless still contributes to our understanding of how judges work in the new court. 

Picture Credit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46060000/jpg/_46060908_20090618supremecourt066.jpg

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

5th Insolvency Research Conference - 5th April 2011 - Nottingham Law School

The Insolvency Service and Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University (pictured) have announced details of the 5th Insolvency Service Research Conference. This is a great piece of news and I am sure Professors Walters, Burdette and Parry and the Insolvency Service Policy Unit will provide an excellent forum for debate and discussion, as they have at their previous events. The programme looks like it will make for a very interesting day:


"09:30 – 10:15

Registration & coffee

10:15
Welcome address
Stephen Speed,  Agency Chief Executive of the Insolvency Service
10:30

Research into CVAs

Adrian Walters - Professor of Corporate & Insolvency Law, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University. Dr Sandra Frisby – Associate Professor and Reader in Company and Commercial Law, School of Law, University of Nottingham.

11:20

Statistics – INSS Presentation

Details of the speakers here
12:00
Lunch
13:00

European Insolvency Law in a Global Context

Dr. Irit Mevorach, Lecturer in Law, School of Law, University of Nottingham

13:40

IVAs and debt management

Janet Watson
14:20
Afternoon tea break
14:50

A Tale of Two Debtors: Responding to the Shock of Over-Indebtedness in France and the UK  1982-2010

Professor Iain Ramsay - Kent Law School, University of Kent

15:30
End address, thank you for attending



Draft programme[1] for the 5th Insolvency Research Conference hosted jointly by the Insolvency Service and Nottingham Law School on Tuesday 5th  April 2011 at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Conference Centre, Newton Building, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU


[1] May be subject to revision"

Picture Credit: Insolvency Service & Nottingham Trent University.

Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd v Armada Shipping SA & Anor [2011] EWHC 216 (Ch) (11 February 2011)

Mr Justice Briggs (pictured) has handed down his judgment in Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd v Armada Shipping SA & Anor [2011] EWHC 216 (Ch) (11 February 2011). The case is particularly interesting due to its consideration of the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations 2006 and article 17 of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency. It is also noteworthy as it contains a reference to an academic article. Briggs, J notes "The contrary argument, originally propounded by Dr Fidelis Oditah in his article "The Juridical Nature of a Lien on Sub-freights" [1989] LMCLQ 191, and enthusiastically endorsed by Lord Millett, giving the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Agnew v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue [2001] 2 AC 710, at paragraphs 38 to 41, is that the owner's lien on sub-freights is a personal contractual right of interception analogous to an unpaid seller's right of stoppage in transit, and not a charge or proprietary right at all." Whilst I go and have a look for the now Professor Fidelis Oditah QC's early article I will leave readers to mull on the rest of Briggs, J's judgment. 

Picture Credit: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/03/17/article-1258581-08C19B25000005DC-40_233x382.jpg

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

misfeasance and wrongful trading considered by Norris, J - Roberts v Frohlich & Anor [2011] EWHC 257 (Ch) (18 February 2011)

Mr Justice Norris (pictured) has handed down his judgment in Roberts v Frohlich & Anor [2011] EWHC 257 (Ch) (18 February 2011). The case concerned an application by a liquidator under two heads. First, he sought a declaration that the directors of the debtor company were guilty of misfeasance and breach of duty as directors of  the company by causing, procuring or permitting the company to commence a development when they knew or ought to have known that it was speculative, inadequately funded, and bound to fail. The second head of claim is for wrongful trading in breach of section 214 Insolvency Act 1986 ("IA 1986"). The case makes for very interesting reading. Following an exhaustive 114 paragraph exposition of the facts Norris, J held that:

"In the light of my findings on misfeasance and breach of duty I can deal with the "wrongful trading" claim relatively shortly. The requisite elements of liability are set out in s.214 Insolvency Act 1986. The question is whether (at or about 1 July 2004 or at or about 1 September 2004) Mr Frohlich or Mr Spanner knew or ought to have concluded that there was no reasonable prospect that ODL would avoid going into insolvent liquidation: and in deciding that question account is to be taken not only of what they respectively know but what they ought to have known or ascertained as reasonably diligent people discharging their respective functions and having the general knowledge skill and experience which each had: see Re Produce Marketing Consortium [1989] BCLC 520 at 550.

In my judgment each ought to have concluded at or about 1 September 2004 (certainly by (say) 14 September 2004) that there was no realistic prospect of avoiding an insolvent liquidation. By this date ODL was in fact insolvent on a balance sheet basis, as each could have established by drawing up the most rudimentary account and comparing it with the Savills valuation (even if uplifted by the certified value of the enabling works completed to date). It simply could not have met all its debts and liabilities (let alone the additional expense of a winding up). On debts immediately due for payment (and assuming that expenditure on enabling works was reflected £1 for £1 in an increase in the value of the Site) there was a significant shortfall. There were immediate liabilities of £192,000 in respect of enabling works completed by P J Brown and further contingent liabilities in respect of work done but not certified. There were contingent liabilities arising from preliminary works, the steel and other contracts placed by Castons with FCL. ODL was also insolvent on a "cash flow" basis. Existing preliminary creditors (who were expecting to be paid on the Easier takeover) would immediately demand payment. The bank was adopting a highly restrictive approach to funding. There was no hope of a fixed price or "capped" contract being offered by FCL. There was no hope of satisfying that funding condition. The Easier deal had collapsed. The attempt to interest a co-venturer collapsed. The cash flow which purported to demonstrate the viability of the project simply did not hold good on any reading in the events which had happened. With their actual skill and experience as property developers, and employing the general analytical and assessment abilities to be expected of directors participating in financial oversight and project management of a new build development, they ought to have concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of avoiding entering insolvency liquidation. Their continuation with the development after (say) 14 September 2004 constitutes wrongful trading.

What drove Mr Frohlich and Mr Spanner at this stage was wilfully blind optimism; the reckless belief that, provided they did not enquire too deeply into the figures, provided ODL did not let on to FCL that there was no funding and did not let on to HBoS that there was no fixed price contract, then something might turn up (if only because FCL and HBoS could be sucked into the development to such a degree that, in order to salvage something, they would crack under pressure and would "share the pain"). But the hope that "something might turn up" was on any objective view groundless and forlorn. Insolvent liquidation was all but inevitable.

I therefore find and hold that as from 14 September 2004 ODL was trading wrongfully, using credit extended to it by suppliers to trade when (but for their wilful blindness) they ought to have concluded that there was no realistic prospect of ODL avoiding insolvent liquidation."

Picture Credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_YrPhWhp-AW0/S1YA99XdTTI/AAAAAAAAA4c/0SfgASe5tn0/s320/alastair.jpg

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ahoy shipmates! Sir Kenneth Cork's yacht 'Rum Rum' - any knowledge of their time together?

Whilst commenting on the idea that it is bad banking practice to lend against security Professor Sir Roy Goode QC makes an interesting analogy with life on the ocean waves. In his 1984 article he notes, "a sensible yachtsman does not set sail in a leaky boat in the teeth of a gale warning, even if he is equipped with a life-jacket and a raft.” (Goode, RM. Is the Law too Favourable to Secured Creditors? [1983-84] 8 Canadian Business Law Journal 53). This takes us neatly to a mystery that has arisen due to a previous entry on this blog. The mystery relates to Sir Kenneth Cork's former yacht 'Rum Rum' (pictured), a craft in which I presume he spent many a happy hour bobbing up and down on the ocean waves. 

Mr Paul Scott (pictured right with Rum Rum) responded to the 'Cork Dynasty' post observing, "I have the honour of being the owner of Rum Rum. The Anderson 22 sailing cruiser that Sir Kenneth and Blondie Hasler used to enjoy. Sir Kenneth bough her in 1979 and she was sold on in 1981, I believe. I would welcome any information relating to their time together." In response to a subsequent post by Melissa Cork, daughter of Sir Roger Cork, Mr Scott responded, "If you, Melissa, have no recollection of Sir Kenneth's yacht Rum Run then I guess this is the end of the road for this trail of enquiry."

Shipmates! We must try and assist the present owner and captain of Rum Rum and in so doing help uncover a little piece of insolvency related history. Do any of our readers have any information that may be of assistance to Mr Scott? The date of sale coincides with the final stages of the Cork Report. Perhaps Sir Kenneth was too busy to enjoy his hobby. 

Picture Credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_E83MN4E9xU8/SsxGion1fTI/AAAAAAAAAAM/hOn3_eql56U/S220-h/Rum+Run+crop.JPG

Some insolvency items in the news - Farepak, UB40, Redmond and Goode

There are a number of interesting insolvency issues percolating through in the news at the moment. The most interesting is perhaps the Farepak case. The story of how the Official Receiver is seeking to disqualify nine directors of the failed hamper company is set to cause a stir for weeks to come, not least because one of the directors in question is Sir Clive Thompson (pictured right) the former CBI boss. 'Sir' Jack Lyons had his knighthood and CBE removed following some dubious business activity - what the judge called "dishonesty on a major scale". Dishonesty is not the same as 'unfit' (pursuant to the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, s.6) but will knighthood removal occur with Sir Clive? We will have to wait and see what the evidence of unfitness is. It could of course be dishonesty as with 'Sir' Jack. Whatever it is Sir Clive will have to hope that his actions do not fall within the rules on forfeiture otherwise Lady Thompson will have to revert to plain old 'Mrs.' The other allegedly unfit directors are:

  • Stevan Lloyd FOWLER
  • Neil Duncan GILLIS
  • Nicholas Piers GILODI-JOHNSON
  • Stephen Matthew HICKS
  • Michael Stephen MACKELCAN JOHNS
  • Paul MUNN
  • Joanne Elizabeth PONTING
  • William Peter ROLLASON

Times are also a bit tough for the band mates in UB40. Five of their number are to face insolvency proceedings in the Birmingham County Court. Another famous individual has found out that he could not run away from his debts. Derek Redmond, the former 400-metre runner, has been declared bankrupt. 

Meanwhile the BBC are reporting that debt advisors are to receive a reprieve in relation to their funding. The Treasury Minister noted, "Effective debt advice can be the first step towards regaining control of your finances. It can also help people to make the most of their money in the future and avoid unsustainable debts. The government intends to put the provision of debt advice onto a more sustainable footing. We want to see a flexible and cost effective response to debt problems, so that people can be helped in a way that works for them."

Finally, Professor Sir Roy Goode QC (pictured left), "the Stephen Hawking of English commercial law" (according to Look Chan Ho - see [2006] EBLR 1729) is due to hand out some prizes at the University of East Anglia this month. The title to his accompanying lecture has yet to be released.

Picture Credit: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Business/Pix/pictures/2006/11/24/thompson372.jpg & http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_YrPhWhp-AW0/TLSJkCPbeRI/AAAAAAAABXM/MwFca9DlMzk/s1600/SirRoyGoode.jpg

Friday, 18 February 2011

Mr Pig? Do you mean Sir Douglas Hogg KC your Grace?

We have discussed the contribution of pigs to the insolvency jurisdiction before. I mentioned in the previous pig post that I would not discuss Sir Francis Bacon, as I have discussed him elsewhere, or Douglas or Quintin Hogg's contributions to our subject. This entry is me renaging on that statement! I could not resist sharing an anecdote that relates to Hogg senior, namely Sir Douglas Hogg KC (28 February 1872–16 August 1950 - pictured right), later 1st Viscount Hailsham PC. Hogg was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in January 1902. He took silk in 1917. He became a bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1920. Randolph Churchill recounts the following anecdote in his 1959 biography of Lord Derby (at page 460-1) regarding a meeting in October 1922:

"The difficulties in which the leading members of the Government found themselves at this time are well illustrated by an anecdote which is told by the sons-in-law of the Duke of Devonshire [Victor Christian William Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire KG PC GCMG GCVO JP (31 May 1868 – 6 May 1938 - pictured below left)] One evening while the Government was being formed Derby went round to Devonshire House. This was only a few months before this splendid building in Picadilly, with its galaxy of memories of political confabulations extending over two centuries, was to be pulled down and replaced by Lord Roote's glittering automobile emporium. Devonshire expressed concern that the Government's lack of adequate representation in the Commons, and in particular as to who would be the Government's principal spokesman, Baldwin being at this time utterly unversed in Parliamentary technique. Someone said:

'Let's get some clever lawyer.'
'I know the very man.' said Derby. 'Someone was telling me about him the other day, a fellow called Pig.'
'The only Pig I know,' said Devonshire, 'is James Pigge in Surtees.'

Thus did that able lawyer, Sir Douglas Hogg, who at that time was probably the leading Silk at the Bar, and who was destined as the first Viscount Hailsham to sit on the Woolsack, first come to the attention of the magnificoes of the Tory Party."

Douglas' son, the 2nd Viscount, Quintin McGarel Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone, KG, CH, PC, QC (9 October 1907 – 12 October 2001) has a slight connection to our subject. Professor David Graham QC had some insolvency related contact with the 2nd Viscount. David recalls Professor Muir Hunter QC telling him that Quintin Hogg, later Lord Hailsham, mentioned to Hunter that it was his habit to read in full every contribution to the 4th edition of Halsbury's Laws of England, of which he was the general editor. In particular, it meant that he had read Muir and David's contribution on bankruptcy. Finally, on the formal occasion when David was sworn in as a QC by the Lord Elwyn-Jones at the Palace of Westminster, on the way out he met the Lord Hailsham who reminisced about how a year or so ago he was in charge of the ceremony. David also remembers Hogg cycling to Chambers along the Embankment. This will be my last entry on insolvency and pig related issues!

Picture Credit: http://images.npg.org.uk/790_500/2/4/mw114824.jpg & http://www.thepeerage.com/009584_002.jpg
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