Freeman declares himself insolvent

SOLICITOR Michael Freeman, acting for Names in the Lloyd's litigation, has declared himself insolvent and applied for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement after running up debts of u1.5 million.

Creditors to Freeman, a partner with Epstein Grower & Michael Freeman, approved an arrangement on 12 September.

Among the 21 creditors are seven banks, five credit card facilities, the Inland Revenue, and three former partners from his previous firm Michael Freeman & Co.

The biggest debts are u669,689 to property company MEPC and u499,577 to National Westminster Bank. Former partners Rolfe Roseman, Christopher Evans and David Marriott, now with law firm Seddons, have a joint and several claim of some u256,000 regarding Freeman's overdrawn capital account with Michael Freeman & Co.

The term of the IVA is six years with a minimum annual contribution of u29,167 and a single payment of u50,000. Minimum payment over the term is u225,000.

Voluntary contributions to creditors will be paid from Freeman's drawings above a u27,000 a year earnings limit. An earlier estimated payment of 18.2 pence in the pound has been revised down to 15p.

Freeman attributes his present insolvency to “the failure of the Michael Freeman & Co practice” because of the recession. He practised commercial property at the time.

However, Freeman faces a taxation hearing in December over bills contested by former clients, the Oakley Vaughan Names Association, which could scupper the IVA.

Reid Minty partner Christopher Stewart-Moore, for the association, says his clients were never informed about the IVA. “If and when we prove the debt and that it is of a sufficient size, it would be the Names' present intention to refuse the IVA.”