A case recently heard in the UK suggests that, in certain circumstances, a claim for conversion of assets may be brought against administrators and liquidators of a company. While the claim did not succeed on the facts inEuromex Ventures Ltd & Anor v BNP Paribas Real Estate Advisory & Ors  EWHC 3007 (Ch), the case illustrates that claimants may bring a proceeding on the basis of alleged acts of conversion by a company's liquidators and administrators.
The same conclusion was reached in the recent New Zealand case of Warren Metals Limited v Grant  NZHC 263, in which the High Court established that in light of section 248(1)(a) of the Companies Act 1993, the liquidator has no better title to a company's assets than the company itself. Warren Metals also held that where a liquidator commits an unlawful act against the property of a third party, they may be personally liable for that act. The courts' discussions in both these cases provide a reminder that liquidators cannot sell property which is owned by a third party without permission. If a liquidator is in any doubt about a particular course of action, the appropriate course is to seek directions from the High Court to avoid the possibility of personal liability.
See Court decision here.