Woolfson v Strathclyde Regional Council

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Woolfson v Strathclyde Regional Council
Stow College - geograph.org.uk - 1179248.jpg
Court House of Lords
Citation(s) [1978] UKHL 5, 1978 SLT 159, 38 P& CR 521
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Lord Keith, Lord Wilberforce, Lord Fraser and Lord Russell

Woolfson v Strathclyde Regional Council [1978] UKHL 5 is a UK company law case concerning piercing the corporate veil.

Facts[edit]

A bridal clothing shop at 53-61 St George’s Road was compulsorily purchased by the Glasgow Corporation. The business in the shop was run by a company called Campbell Ltd. But the shop itself, though all on one floor, was composed of different units of property. Mr Solomon Woolfson owned three units and another company, Solfred Holdings Ltd owned the other two. Mr Woolfson had 999 shares in Campbell Ltd and his wife the other. They had twenty and ten shares respectively in Solfred Ltd. Mr Woolfson and Solfred Ltd claimed compensation together for loss of business after the compulsory purchase, arguing that this situation was analogous to the case of DHN v Tower Hamlets LBC.[1]

The Land Tribunal denied it on the basis that Campbell Ltd was the sole occupier.

Judgment[edit]

Lord Keith upheld the decision of the Scottish Court of Appeal, refusing to follow and doubting DHN v Tower Hamlets BC. He said that DHN was easily distinguishable because Mr Woolfson did not own all the shares in Solfred, as Bronze was wholly owned by DHN, and Campbell had no control at all over the owners of the land. The one situation where the veil could be lifted was whether there are special circumstances indicating that the company is a ‘mere façade concealing the true facts’. Lord Keith's judgment dealt with DHN as follows.

Lords Wilberforce, Fraser and Russell and Dundy concurred.

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