Locate and identify your own goods

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In the case of Blue Monkey Gaming Limited v Hudson and others Limited [2014] EWHC (Ch), the High Court has confirmed that the onus of locating and identifying retention of title goods lies with claimants and not administrators.

Case Background

This case concerned a retention of title claim over fruit machines supplied by MDM Leisure Limited (MDM) to the Agora Group (Agora). Agora entered administration, and MDM entered liquidation. The liquidator of MDM assigned the benefit of MDM’s retention of title claim to Blue Monkey Gaming Limited (Blue Monkey).

Blue Monkey asserted a retention of title claim for fruit machines supplied to the Agora prior to Agora entering administration. The value, number and identity of the machines was disputed and Blue Monkey argued that the administrators were under a duty to identify and locate the fruit machines relating to their retention of title claim. The judge disagreed, stating that “it was the duty of the person claiming ownership of goods to identify its own goods, not for the Administrators to do so. To hold otherwise would be not only totally unrealistic and practically unworkable but would also impose an obligation on Administrators which I do not consider the law demands.”

The administrators’ obligation was to “permit and supervise access to an alleged owner to enable it to identify its own goods and then to adjudicate on any claim arising on the basis of all the evidence supplied.”

The claim was dismissed.

Comment

Those with a retention of title claim should be proactive in locating and identifying their goods, which may be by seeking access to premises where they consider their assets to be. Claimants should refrain from solely relying on the administrators’ asset list, which may be inaccurate.

For more information, help or advice please contact Imran Malik on 0191 211 7880.