Deacons bankruptcy hearing delayed over new evidence

A BANKRUPTCY hearing for three former partners of collapsed law firm Deacon Goldrein Green has been postponed because an unexpectedly large number of witnesses have been called.

The bankruptcy hearing involving former partners Martin Green, Patricia Reynolds and Robert Ollerhead, who was struck off the roll last year, was due to take place several days ago in Liverpool County Court but will now not occur until later this summer.

The appeal-type review hearing called by solicitors of former partner David Deacon, declared personally bankrupt last month, has been taken out of the list by his lawyers, who are seeking a later hearing date.

This is because its outcome could be influenced by the

result of the bankruptcy hearing for the other three, says their solicitor Marshall Ronald, who is also acting on behalf of Deacon.

Bankruptcy petitions against the former partners, who all left the DGG partnership before the firm collapsed and went into liquidation, have all been brought by creditor NWS Trust, a Chester bank.

The four former partners are understood to claim that new evidence has emerged since Deacons' bankruptcy that indicates they were released from the firm's debt.

“It's going to be a real hum-dinger of a hearing,” says a source close to the case.

The judge hearing the cases, District Judge Elliott Knopf, has intimated that Deacon's bankruptcy order could be dropped if triable issues are shown to exist between the suing creditor and the former partners, it is understood.

But NWS Trust's solicitor, Davies Wallis Foyster partner Andrew Gregory, says: “There's no new evidence. All relevant evidence was available to Mr Deacon and his solicitor, so we will be opposing that [application for review].

“We believe the Deacon camp are making it as complicated as they can. Our concerns are their professional reasons for doing so,” says Gregory.

It is also understood that Deacon's wife is about to issue a writ for negligence against the former firm. If she does, she could end up as a creditor in the liquidation.

Meanwhile, barristers are claiming they are owed fees by the firm. However, they cannot be creditors because, as barristers instructed by a solicitors' firm, they do not have a provable debt, say the liquidators.

– Former Deacon Goldrein Green consultant Neville Goldrein wishes to point out that he has never been a partner with the firm and has no involvement with the proceedings. Retired since 1992, he allowed his name to be used in the firm's title when his practice Goldrein & Co merged with Levy Deacon & Green in 1985.

Mike Yuille