We were an LLP appointed by Companies House and our MRN was 87958, unfortunately due to the economic climate and an internal fraud (the person responsible was imprisoned) the company Bassett LLP T/A The Old Devil Inn was dissolved in March 2013. One of our then suppliers has taken us to small claims court regarding an account left outstanding by the company for £9500.00 to which he claimed that he had no knowledge we were an LLP and has sued both myself and my husband personally. The district Judge Burgess has ruled in his favour and we are now facing the prospect of bankruptcy. How can this be legal when we traded as an LLP for over seven years and have never traded as individuals? We were also informed that as we had not made our supplier specifically aware that we were an LLP and not trading as individuals that the
fault lies with us.
Hello, welcome to the website. My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.
The issue as to whether the contract is with you as individuals or with the LLP is a matter of construction for the court to consider. It's often a case of working out the facts and applying the law to it.
Normally, when you're a business that is trading, you need to include your business name on the stationary that you use, so that it's clear you're an LLP, a limited entity with limited liability.
However, by not putting this on the stationary etc., this does not automatically mean you're liable as individuals. Again, it comes down to who the dealings were between etc. If they did not know of the LLP though, it's difficult to say that they contracted with it.
If you feel that the District Judge was wrong, then you can seek permission to appeal his decision if you wish.
You would do this to the same county court that heard the small claims hearing. The application for permission to appeal would be made to a circuit judge at the same court.
If they think the District Judge might have got it wrong then they're likely to grant you permission to appeal and then you can have the matter looked at by the Circuit Judge.
Is there anything I can focus on, or clarify for you about this?
What do you mean 'by who the dealings were between'?
My supplier was well aware that we were an LLP as I had many conversations with him over the seven years he was delivering our goods and when he collected payments. He is just not telling the truth. We also had our letter of incorporation displayed in our premises where it could be viewed by anyone.
By "who the dealings were between" I mean the people that were trading/contraing together.
If you told the Court about the conversations you had, and the Court accepted his evidence about those, then it sounds like the Court believed him and not you. That's unfortunate, the fact you're on here asking questions about this after the hearing tends to suggest that you're the one telling the truth, but this is the risk with the Courts, they can find against you even though you're the one that deserves the be recognised as telling the truth.
It's incredibly difficult to appeal against a Judge's finding of fact because the appeal courts do not hear oral evidence (usually). Therefore, if thiswas a case of the judge believed him and not you, then I'm afraid to say that there is little you're likely to be able to do now. It's unlikey you would get permission to appeal on this ground. You would have to show the judge got the law wrong really.
What about the fact that our cheques were printed Bassett LLP t/a The Old Devil Inn? As he accepted these from me personally how can he deny that he did not realise we were an LLP. Surely anyone with an ounce of sense
checks wording and numbers and could not fail to notice who the cheques
were drawn against?