Rangers Have Been Sued – But This Time It Is The Parent Company!

From the Scottish Court Website for Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday 23rd November 2011 – Scroll down to number 26 on the Small Claims Preliminary Hearings and you will find the following –

Fyfe Ireland LLP – v – The Rangers FC Group         Fyfe Ireland        SA3147/11

 

This is a Small Claim. The sum sued for can be up to a maximum of £3,000. It is a comedown from the claim of over £1 million lodged by Martin Bain, and the smaller one for several hundred thousand pounds by Donald McIntyre.

 

Fyfe Ireland is a blue chip Scottish law firm. It carries out all sorts of legal work, but is best known in the commercial, property and corporate fields. Few bills in that area come to such a low figure as £3,000!

 

The Defender here, unless the Sheriff Court has made a mistake, is NOT the football club, but instead the “parent company” which was incorporated for the purchase of Rangers FC from the Murray Group, and which was formerly called “Wavetower”. Rangers FC Group is Mr Whyte’s company, and has nothing to do with the former management at Ibrox.

 

Mr Whyte has publicly said that all the bills from the old regime were being looked at prior to payment, thus leading to court actions by Levy & McRae and Capita Trustee Services Limited. This is not one of those. This is a bill for services rendered to Mr Whyte’s company.

 

I would be astonished if the case actually called on Wednesday. These court lists are made up when the court actions are warranted. Many of the cases on the list will have already resolved by the time the case is scheduled to call, and if so, the case probably would not trouble the court at all.

 

Procedurally, if Rangers FC Group wanted to defend the action, then they would have needed to lodge a response with the Sheriff Clerk by Wednesday 16th November at the latest. If not, and if there has not been an agreement to settle the case, Fyfe Ireland would obtain a decree against Rangers FC Group.

 

Bearing in mind that this company is incorporated in England, and apart from owning Rangers FC, probably has no assets in Scotland, enforcement of a decree might be a problem. There are procedures for registering Scottish decrees to enforce them in England but they can be time-consuming. In addition, if Rangers FC is the only “asset” owned by the former Wavetower, then is it actually worth anything!

 

It is perfectly possible that there is a legitimate dispute about the amount of the bill, or indeed if there is any liability at all. If so, the world (or at least the part of the world in the Small Claims court at Edinburgh on Wednesday) will hear it.

 

On the other hand, is this simply yet another situation where Mr Whyte, who has already commented, to Tom English in the Scotland on Sunday, that he has lost count of the court actions, simply has taken things to the wire and beyond to avoid paying a debt?

 

Coming after Ally McCoist was quoted in the newspapers at the weekend saying that Rangers did not need to sell players in the January transfer window, and indeed might be able to bring in new players, it seems incongruous that the parent company has delayed paying a bill which amounts to less than one day’s salary for Allan McGregor!

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12 Comments

Filed under Bain v Rangers, Football, McIntyre v Rangers, Rangers, Uncategorized

12 responses to “Rangers Have Been Sued – But This Time It Is The Parent Company!

  1. jim62

    Response would need to be lodged by 9 November..there are now 14 days between Return day and Calling date in small claim and summary cause cases!

    Are they trying to work through every legal firm in Scotland??…must be my turn soon!!

    • Quite right Jim – next thing I will be talking about the £750 limit for Small Claims!

      Bearing in mind the rate at which they are going through the White Book, it will be your chance soon – make sure you get cleared funds up front! 🙂

  2. Paul what is the logical conclusion to the inaction around debt payments?

    Can a Sheriff make a direction or order against the directors for malpractice?

    Could this invole the Insolvency Service?

    I would welcome your view on what form of manipulation is at hand.

    • Droid,

      Systematic delay (if that is what it is) in settling bills won’t lead a Sheriff to take any action against them – the penalty is in court costs and bad press.

      Action against the Directors can only come in the event of an Insolvency, when the DTI (or whatever that department is called these days) sends in the Insolvency Service to inquire into how and why the company failed.

      As far as manipulation goes, there are some companies which work on the basis that they can hold off till they are sued, and take the hit for costs when this happens. They might be conscious of the fact that some creditors won’t sue a debtor where they still hope to get more work from them – rarely does someone continue to do business with someone who has sued them for unpaid bills.

      Is this happening at Rangers? Only Mr Whyte could tell us, if only someone asked him!

  3. campsiejoe

    Very interesting and informative as always Paul
    By the way, I’m glad you will be casting your eye over the Carloway Report
    From what I’ve read of it so far, there are some fairly contentious issues within it

    • Thanks Joe.

      I think the Carloway Report is extraordinary for the changes it wants to make, with little justification other than “times have changed”. (I appreciate that comment falls into the Department of the Gross Over Simplification).

      It is a bit like the US General in Vietman who said, “To save the village, we had to withdraw it”!

      • I also fear for the measures mentioned in this report. Without shooting from the hip without reading it in its entirety my impression thus far involves more long term expense, less certainty, more appeals and a very distinct waste of time. Somewhere along the line I fear for the direction of this already flawed yet celebrated legal system of ours

        • Garry,

          The Carloway Report is welcome news to the Crown Office and the police. That alone should give pause for thought.

          I recall a policeman acquaintance discussing a high profile case where the accused had not been convicted, and his comment was that “he got away with it because the evidence we were not allowed to bring up proved he did it”.

          He seemed to miss the point that, if evidence was excluded from a trial, there had to be a reason for it, and therefore the evidence, or the gathering of it, was unfair and/or prejudicial. And also, noit having been tested in court, it was easy to say that it would have been conclusive.

          I have my fears, as you do.

      • The main problem that i see with it is a phrase we all learn in life although now made famous by the fictional Gregory House M.D. “Everybody lies”. The first time i ever stepped foot inside the court as a student this phrase was used by a Sheriff when talking. I won’t mention his name but his words were along the lines of ‘ everybody lies……the police lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie’. If we treat this as a taken, then surely the MORE corroborated evidence we have the better,not less.

        Also, ” a less rule-bound approach to the evidence gathered with the general requirement for corroboration being dropped” (quote from the BBC) does not add up.

        However, and again i apologise i have not read the full report in detail however i will over the next few days, half of the ‘stories’ i have heard just don’t completely comply in some cases and could lead to pathetic delays in relation with good old article 6 ” to have adequate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence”. Of course i jest on the extremity of such.

        The term ‘Rush Justice’ springs to mind, especially at a time when prisons are bursting at the seems.

  4. I notice that the daily record are running with this story today. Unfortunately the headline seems more worthwhile than the story which is almost entirely made up from what I can see. My understanding of the whole issue is as that of yourself- the opposite, it would appear of some good old sensationalistic journalism!

  5. iain mcg

    Paul,

    Read elsewhere that the sum sued for was £1620. Presumably including VAT. Didnt think they would open a file for that much.

    • Iain,

      As Fyfe Ireland were apparently involved in the due diligence exercise, one wonders if this was perhaps some disputed outlay, or the final portion of a much larger bill. If Mr Whyte could get Fyfe Ireland to do a “due diligence” exercise for only just over £1,000, then he is clearly a great businessman!

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