It took over 100 years to build up but only one small typo to bring down.

Taylor & Sons Ltd, a Welsh engineering company had a 124 year history, a workforce of 250, and a wide array of customers.

Unfortunately, on 20 February 2009, Companies House wrongly recorded that the company had been wound up. An error with devastating consequences for Taylor & Sons.

In fact, it should have been an entirely different company, Taylor & Son Limited – without an ‘s’ – which should have been recorded by Companies House. And, although the error was corrected on 23 February 2009, the damage suffered by the company in the intervening period was catastrophic with both credit rating agencies and suppliers picking up on the incorrect news. Orders were lost, credit lines were withdrawn and the business was effectively destroyed. It was placed into administration just three months later.

The company’s co-owner and director sued Companies House for “false publication” following the incident and, in a ruling handed down in the High Court on 27 January 2015, Mr Justice Edis found that the Registrar of Companies had a duty to take “reasonable care” to ensure that an order was not registered against the wrong firm – accordingly, Companies House was liable for the company’s demise.

Damages have not yet been assessed but the claimants have valued their losses at just under £9m.

If you would like any further information about this or related topics, please contact the Edwin Coe Corporate & Commercial team.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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