Former barrister and solicitor has bankruptcy restrictions extended for 10 years after he concealed financial affairs from Official Receiver and joint trustees
On 10 March 2020 at the High Court of Justice in London, ICC Judge Mullen imposed a 10-year Bankruptcy Restrictions Order against Paul Baxendale-Walker.
For a further 10 years, Paul Baxendale-Walker – also known as Paul Chaplin – will need to disclose his bankruptcy status if he attempts to secure £500 or more in credit and he cannot act as a company director without the permission of the court.
The court heard that Paul Baxendale-Walker had previously advised wealthy individuals on tax avoidance schemes, which were later found not to be legal.
Paul Baxendale-Walker, who had also previously been struck off as a barrister and solicitor, was declared bankrupt in the High Court in July 2018 on the petition of a creditor. This followed a court judgment earlier that year in January 2018 where it was found that Paul Baxendale-Walker gave negligent tax advice to a client, resulting in the former barrister being liable for damages of circa £16 million.
During his bankruptcy proceedings, however, Paul Baxendale-Walker failed to make a full and frank disclosure of his affairs to the Official Receiver or joint trustees.
He failed to disclose the existence or extent of his ownership of a home – purchased for close to £300,000 shortly before his bankruptcy – or that he attempted to gift his ownership in the home to an associate to the detriment of his creditors.
Paul Baxendale-Walker failed to disclose he held an interest in the lease of a property in Knightsbridge rented for more than £177,000, in total.
He understated his annual income to the Official Receiver and joint trustees, and also permitted or assisted the concealment, removal or destruction of electronic devices believed to contain records relating to his affairs.
In making the order of a 10-year bankruptcy restriction, ICC Judge Mullen found Paul Baxendale-Walker had sought to place obstacles before the Official Receiver and his joint trustees in bankruptcy.
The Official Receiver, Anthony Hannon, said:
Paul Baxendale-Walker knew exactly what he was doing when he failed to disclose all his assets to the Official Receiver and the courts have rightly recognised the severity of his actions by restricting his activities for a decade.
The case aptly demonstrates that a bankrupt has an absolute duty to co-operate with the Official Receiver and the Trustee in Bankruptcy. People in bankruptcy must co-operate to provide a full, frank and honest explanation of their assets, income and records in their estate and must make all reasonable endeavours to ensure that assets are realised for the benefit of the creditors.
Notes to Editors
Paul Baxendale-Walker’s date of birth is February 1964.
Public-facing details of Paul Baxendale-Walker’s Bankruptcy Restrictions Order is available on the Individual Insolvency Register.
On 4 July 2019, the Secretary of State authorised the Official Receiver to seek a bankruptcy restrictions order
Proceedings were issued by the Official Receiver in the High Court of Justice on 8 July 2019
On 10 December 2019 the matter was heard in the High Court
On 13 February 2020 the Court delivered its verdict
The case was adjourned for further consideration as to the appropriate tariff and on 10 March 2020 a bankruptcy restriction order was made against Mr Baxendale-Walker for 10 years.
Bankruptcy restrictions are wide-ranging. The effects are the same whether you are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or to an undertaking. Guidance on the main statutory consequences flowing from a bankruptcy restrictions order or undertaking.