Can a business director still be sued for negligence even once a business has been liquidated


There have been cases where directors have been sued for professional negligence even after the dissolution of the company they were part of. One notable example is the case of Smith v Eric S Bush & Others [1990] 1 WLR 626.

In instances where companies have dissolved, directors could still face legal repercussions for their actions during the company’s active period. The case of Smith v Eric S Bush & Others [1990] 1 WLR 626 serves as a pertinent reminder that the dissolution of a company does not automatically shield directors from personal liability, especially if their conduct has led to harm or losses for external parties. This underscores the necessity for directors to be diligent in fulfilling their duty of care and to comprehend the potential enduring implications of their decisions even post-dissolution.

“Directors’ liability” or “director’s duty of care” embodies the legal framework that mandates directors to act prudently and with skill in carrying out their roles within a company. Even after a company ceases to exist, directors may still be answerable for any negligent or fraudulent behaviour exhibited during their tenure. It is imperative for directors to grasp their legal obligations and the significance of upholding due care, skill, and diligence in their responsibilities, as failure to do so could result in personal liability regardless of the cessation of the company’s operations.

In this case, the directors of a dissolved company were held personally liable for professional negligence in relation to their actions while the company was still active. The court ruled that the dissolution of the company did not absolve the directors of their responsibilities, particularly if their actions resulted in harm or losses to third parties.

The directors of a dissolved company found themselves facing personal liability due to professional negligence linked to their actions while the company operated. The court’s verdict emphasized that the company’s dissolution did not exempt the directors from their duties, especially if their conduct led to harm or financial setbacks for external parties. This significant case serves as a reminder that directors can be held answerable for their decisions even after a company ceases to exist.

The principle of director’s liability or duty of care underscores the ongoing responsibility directors hold for their past actions within a company. Despite the company’s dissolution, directors remain susceptible to legal repercussions for any negligent or fraudulent behavior during their tenure. Understanding and adhering to their legal obligations, including the requirement to exercise reasonable care and skill, is paramount for directors to evade personal liability, regardless of the company’s operational status.

The principle of personal liability for directors is often referred to as “director’s liability” or “director’s duty of care.” Even after a company is dissolved, directors may still be held accountable for their actions or decisions made during the company’s existence, especially if those actions were negligent or fraudulent.

Directors bear a significant responsibility to uphold a standard of care towards their company and stakeholders. This liability extends beyond the dissolution of the company, with directors remaining subject to potential legal actions for any negligent or fraudulent behavior exhibited during their tenure. The case of Smith v Eric S Bush & Others [1990] 1 WLR 626 serves as a stark reminder that directors can be personally held liable for any misconduct or shortcomings that transpired while the company was operative. Such accountability underscores the imperative for directors to diligently fulfil their duties to mitigate the risk of legal repercussions.

The concept of director’s liability underscores the enduring obligations directors maintain even after a company ceases to operate. The duty of care expected from directors demands a proactive approach in overseeing the company’s affairs, ensuring compliance with legal requirements, and safeguarding the interests of all relevant parties. Negligence or malpractice on the part of directors can lead to severe consequences, irrespective of whether the company is in operation, emphasizing the critical need for directors to act prudently and ethically throughout their tenure.

It’s essential for directors to understand their legal obligations and responsibilities, including their duty to exercise reasonable care, skill, and diligence in carrying out their duties. Failing to do so could result in personal liability, even if the company is no longer in operation.

Directors have a paramount duty to diligently fulfil their legal obligations, ensuring the utmost care and skill in their decision-making processes. This duty extends beyond the dissolution of the company, rendering them accountable for any negligence or misconduct that transpired during their tenure. The spectre of personal liability looms prominently over directors who fail to uphold their duty of care, underscoring the critical importance of maintaining vigilance even after the company ceases to exist.

Navigating the intricate landscape of corporate governance demands unwavering attention to detail and a steadfast commitment to ethical conduct from directors. Their responsibilities transcend the mere operations of the company and encapsulate a broader duty to safeguard against potential risks and liabilities, safeguarding the interests of stakeholders. By comprehensively understanding the legal framework governing their actions, directors can mitigate the risk of personal liability, fostering a culture of accountability and integrity within the corporate sphere.

we recommend clients as such maintain appropriate indemnity and directors and officers insurance in run off ot protect themselves

In today’s complex corporate landscape, the concept of director’s liability is a critical consideration for individuals serving in directorial roles. The legal framework surrounding director’s duties underscores the importance of maintaining appropriate indemnity and directors and officers insurance coverage. As highlighted in the case of Smith v Eric S Bush & Others [1990] 1 WLR 626, directors can face personal liability even after a company has been dissolved if their actions are deemed negligent or harmful. Therefore, having robust insurance protection in place can offer directors a layer of defence against potential litigation or claims arising from their decisions while in office.

It is prudent for directors to proactively safeguard themselves against the risks associated with their roles by securing comprehensive indemnity and directors and officers insurance coverage. Such protections can help mitigate the financial implications of legal proceedings stemming from allegations of professional misconduct or negligence. By prioritizing insurance coverage tailored to the unique liabilities faced by directors, individuals can navigate the regulatory environment with greater peace of mind, knowing that they have a safety net in place in the event of litigation or disputes.

Want to speak to one of our specialists?

Call or email us today for a comprehensive insurance policy at a competitive price. Telephone: 01732 252898 Or email us using the form below.

Be safe in the knowledge that your business is protected.

Get a quote by calling our team on 01732 252 898 or submit your details below
Submit your details for a quote

    Contact Name

    Email Address


    Your Message / Enquiry

    Renewal Date (if applicable)

    How did you hear about us?

    I am happy to be contacted

    Clarke Williams Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under reference 758683. The Financial Conduct Authority’s Register can be accessed through . We are registered in England and Wales with Companies House under number 10317065. Our registered office address is Blue Bell Court, Sovereign Way, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1FU.
    Clarke Williams Ltd
    Blue Bell Court
    Sovereign Way
    TN9 1FU
    Tel: 01732 252 898
    © 2023 Clarke Williams Ltd