Case Alert - [2017] EWHC 2889 (Ch)

Court rules that payments to a PR firm are within the ordinary course of business

The claimant in this case had given an undertaking to "not dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any funds belonging to it or held to its order other than in the ordinary course of business". Thus, although not a freezing order, the wording of the undertaking closely mirrored the wording used in the standard form freezing order. One of the issues in the case was whether the claimant would be allowed to pay up to £30,000 per month to a firm of PR consultants as part of the "ordinary course of business".

The judge held that it would not necessarily be improper to incur expense in defending or promoting the reputation of a director of the claimant: "Conversely, if this class of expenditure is allowed, that does not permit [the claimant] to spend monies otherwise than for the benefit of the company and in the ordinary and proper course of business. [The claimant] will need to take care not to breach the Undertaking by paying for PR services that do not fall within it, especially as the company's prime decision maker is [the director] and human nature being what it is that may enhance the risk of confusion between his interests and those of the company".