Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
(Sitting as a Judge of the High Court)
IN THE MATTER OF MAGI CAPITAL PARTNERS LLP
RE: A COMPANY No. 5758 of 2003
Midway House, 27/29 Cursitor Street, London EC4A 1LT.
Telephone No: 020 7405 5010. Fax No: 020 7405 5026
MS. LEXA HILLIARD (instructed by Messrs. L.C.L. Law, London EC3M 5BS) for the Respondents
Crown Copyright ©
Judge Weeks QC:
"Save as otherwise provided in this Agreement, all disputes and questions whatsoever which may arise between the Partners or between any Partners or Partner in the firm relating to this agreement or the construction or application of this agreement or any account, valuation or division of assets, debts or liabilities to be made or as to any act, deed or omission of any Partner or as to any other matter in any way relating to the Firm or to the affairs of the Firm or the rights, duties or liabilities of any person under this Agreement will be dealt with in accordance with this clause."
"If the dispute is not resolved through the use of alternative dispute resolution, then it will be referred to a single arbitrator, who will be appointed by the Partners involved in the dispute if they can agree upon one, or, failing agreement, by the President for the time being of the Law Society on the application of any partner, in either case in accordance with and subject to the provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996. Such decision will be binding on the parties and the arbitrator will decide upon costs."
"A company may be wound up by the court if -- ...
(g) the court is of the opinion that it is just and equitable that the company should be wound up."
JUDGE WEEKS: Stay until 19th January. Case management conference to be held by the Registrar on first available date after 19th January.
JUDGE WEEKS: I have to decide the question of costs on a successful application to stay the proceedings for a short time while arbitration takes place in respect of allegations made by the individual partners against each other. The starting point I think is that the applicant for a stay has succeeded and prima facie ought to have the costs of what is a discrete application. Nevertheless in the circumstances of the present case I think there are some grounds for postponing the decision until the hearing of the petition. My decision was on the basis that Mr. Banerjee's allegations ought to be ventilated before the arbitrator. It may be, however, that the arbitrator will decide that there is nothing in his allegations and that Mr. Burke and Mr. Hall are entirely correct in initiating steps to expel him, as they have done. Even if Mr. Banerjee does succeed in persuading the arbitrator that his allegations are true in substance or in whole, then there is a further hurdle for him. He will have to persuade the judge hearing the petition that they are material and possibly even decisive in forming a view as to whether or not it is just and equitable to wind up the company. The judge in that situation will be in possession of the full facts of the matter. I have only been able to decide that the allegations are potentially material. The judge hearing the petition may well decide that they are of little weight or insufficient weight to reach a conclusion that the petition ought not to succeed.
I think in the unusual circumstances of the present case I ought to depart from the usual rule post the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules, that individual interim applications should attract individual interim awards of costs. I think in the present case justice can only be done if the costs are reserved to the judge hearing the petition. I am reluctant to do so because it does happen occasionally that costs are lost sight of in the course of a trial, but it seems to me unlikely that these costs would be lost sight of and that only the judge hearing the petition could properly reach a fair result as to the costs of this application.
So the costs will be reserved to the judge hearing the petition.