Insolvency specialist Buchler Phillips has been told it can keep 99% of the #1.63m the firm earned in fees from its controversial receivership of the personal estate of media tycoon Robert Maxwell.
The landmark ruling, delivered by Chief Taxing Master Hurst, ends a six-year wait for the firm. It follows a lengthy investigation process into the firm’s fee claims, which left creditors with only #40,000 of the tycoon’s #1.67m estate.
High Court judge Mr Justice Ferris branded the fee claim as ‘profoundly shocking’ in 1997, which prompted the Insolvency Practitioners Association to mount its own enquiry. It was dropped one month later.
A Buchler Phillips insider said the firm had repeatedly sought guidance from the court over remuneration but the judge had refused.
In awarding the majority of time costs sought, Chief Taxing Master Hurst said: ‘The receivers throughout were concerned to act efficiently and treated cost control as a priority.’
One insider said much of the discrepancy over the fees resulted from the firm often finding that the title of assets which appeared to be in Maxwell’s name actually belonged to other entities.
Buchler Phillips partner and joint receiver, Peter Phillips, said: ‘I am pleased that, having closely scrutinised our conduct of the case, the Chief Taxing Master has confirmed that all our time was appropriately spent.’
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