Firstly, the FCA have confirmed that the appeal by Asset Land and David Banner-Eve was dismissed – so the final result – WIN for the FCA.
The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses the appeal by Asset Land and Mr Banner-Eve, finding that Asset Land’s activities amounted to operating “collective investment schemes” under section 235 FSMA, and were thus “regulated activities” for the purpose of section 19. Lord Carnwath gives the lead judgment. Lord Sumption gives a concurring judgment.
You can see a copy of the judgement with a press summary here: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2014-0150.html
or download the pdf copies from the links below:
You can watch a video of the final judgment here (3 mins 15sec in length): https://www.supremecourt.uk/watch/uksc-2014-0150/judgment.html
The FCA will now be taking action to enforce the payment order of £21 million they obtained in 2014 but it is likely that the defendants will not have sufficient assets to pay that sum. It is follows therefore that investors will not receive anything but a very small proportion of what they invested. Also, this process is likely to be complex and protracted.
Regarding time-frames, the FCA have stated, “So we are really only at the ‘end of the beginning“. FCA
Also, for those still struggling to Section 75 claims or who have not started their claim, the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the appeal will help push your claim towards success. The FCA say,
“Those investors who paid by credit card and who that have not already pursued claims under s75 of the Consumer Credit Act should think about doing so.” FCA
Who does the land we all hold now belong to?
“The land remains the property of the current owners. So all those investors who bought plots will continue to remain the legal owners. Some plots were not sold so they will remain the property of Asset Land. However, once we have taken action to enforce the payment of the £21 million that the judge ordered to be paid to us, it is very likely that Asset Land will be forced into liquidation at which time its assets will come under the control of a liquidator. It will then fall to the liquidator to dispose of the land that Asset Land owns and some scheme will probably have to be put in place whereby the plots belonging to the investors are brought into the equation so that the various sites can be disposed of as a whole. This is likely to be a complex matter, and there might be other ways of dealing with it that the liquidator may come up with.
But in short, the Supreme Court’s decision does not affect who owns the land.” FCA