Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

A tort is a wrongful act that causes harm to someone and infringes their rights. If the person or entity committing a tort (the tortfeasor/defendant) is found to be liable to the injured party (the claimant), the court will provide the injured party with protection or compensation by granting an injunction or monetary damages. Those assisting the tortfeasor to commit a tort may also be held liable as an accessory to the tort. But when will a company director be an accessory to a tort committed by the company? Background The recent Court of Appeal decision in Barclay-Watt v Alpha Panareti Public Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 1169 provides clear guidance for determining whether a director who assisted a company in committing a tortious act would be liable as accessory. Between 2005 and 2007, Alpha Panareti Public Ltd (APP) marketed luxury properties in Cyprus to the claimants and other unsophisticated investors residing in the UK. APP offered ‘exclusive’ mortgage schemes through Alpha Bank Cyprus (ABC) as part of their luxury property packages. The mortgages were offered in Swiss francs. These were advertised as ‘armchair’ investments with low interest rates because of the exceptional stability of the Swiss franc. However, due to a decline in the exchange value of the British pound and the Cypriot pound against the Swiss franc and because the properties in which the claimants had invested were only partially completed, which meant they had no rental receipts, the claimants quickly became increasingly and overwhelmingly indebted to ABC. APP’s director, Mr Ioannou, was responsible for marketing the properties to UK residents, although he did not deal When is a Director Liable for Their Company’s Tortious Acts? Tom Keya Founder, Soulh 71-75, Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom, WC2H 9JQ Special Feature Depending on how far they can be considered t be removed from their company’s activities, the degree to which a director might be held accountable for torts will often shift. Hannah Sharp, partner in Rosling King’s dispute resolution team, examines whether and when directors will be liable for a tortious act committed by the company, as an accessory to the company’s tort, in the context of Barclay-Watt v Alpha Panareti Public Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 1169. 48 LAWYERMONTHLYOCTOBER 2022

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