South East Wales

Appeal in £8.8m Companies House spelling mistake case

Philip Davison-Sebry Image copyright Strand
Image caption Philip Davison-Sebry said he lost business after people thought his company had been wound up

A decision that a spelling mistake led to the collapse of an engineering firm can be appealed, a judge has ruled.

Companies House recorded Taylor & Sons as being wound up in 2009 when it was Taylor & Son in difficulty.

Former co-owner Philip Davison-Sebry, of Cardiff, is now at the centre of an £8.8m case against Companies House.

Last year's ruling said the error caused the company to go into administration but a High Court judge ruled on Wednesday it can be appealed.

In January 2015, Mr Justice Edis found Companies House owed a duty of care when entering a winding up order to take reasonable care to ensure it is not registered against the wrong company.

He said Taylor & Sons had proved the reason it went into liquidation was because of an error made by Companies House.

Now, government lawyers have been granted permission to challenge that decision in the Court of Appeal.

Taylor & Sons dated back to 1875 and more than 250 people lost their jobs when it went under.

The error was rectified within three days but in the mean time, the false information had spread online.

The company said word had already got around, resulting in orders being cancelled and credit facilities being withdrawn.

Paul Rees QC, for Companies House, argued the judge's decision set a dangerous precedent for the future, "opening the door" to similar claims.

Lady Justice Arden said: "Clearly this case has wide implications and there are compelling reasons why an appeal should be considered."

She described what happened to Taylor & Sons through no fault of its own as "most unfortunate".

No date was given for the full hearing of the appeal.

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