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Blunder by Companies House causes collapse of family business

View profile for Matthew Fretten
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A simple spelling error by Companies House led to the collapse of a 124 year old family business the High Court has ruled. A single letter ‘s’ was mistakenly left out of an official document. Taylor and Sons Ltd, a five generation family engineering business in Cardiff , were mistakenly recorded as having been wound up, when in reality it was a completely unconnected company – Taylor and Son Ltd who were in financial trouble.

When the record was made public, Taylor and Sons business suffered – orders were cancelled and their credit facilities were withdrawn. Ultimately the company went into administration. The Court found in favour of the company’s former managing director and co-owner, Mr Philip Davison-Sebry and ruled that Companies House were legally responsible for the mistake. The company which employed more than 250 people had traded successfully for generations and although like a lot of companies it had struggled during the recession, the error was the ‘precipitating factor’ in its demise the Court ruled. Although Companies House tried to rectify their mistake it was too late to save the company. Credit reference agencies had already been informed by Companies House of the failure of the business. ‘We lost all our credibility as all our suppliers thought we were in liquidation’ said Mr Davison- Sebry. After a four year legal battle the Government has been left with a £9 million legal bill.

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