It is a sad reality that the Covid-19 Pandemic is likely to lead to a spike in the number of companies being put into insolvency. This has the potential to leave parties with claims against those companies with a reduced prospect of full recovery, even if their claims are strong. As a result, claimants may look for alternative targets, including ways in which they could sue directors personally.
Company succession planning is critical to ensure that a company can continue to run in the unfortunate event that a director (or shareholder) dies. If there are other surviving directors, they are able to step in and run the company, but what happens when a sole company director dies?
The case of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy v Kevin William Eagling  EWHC 2806 (Ch) was the first brought by the Secretary of State under a regime in the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 providing for compensation orders. The court found in favour of the Secretary of State and made its first ever compensation order under the regime requiring a company director to provide compensation.
When is a director a director? At first glance this may appear to be a facile question. Why would individuals who only carry the title “director” fall within this group? Surely a director must be someone who has been formally appointed as a director? Well, yes and no. For instance, someone who is involved in the day to day management of a business, but has not been formally appointed as a director or someone who tells the board what to do may also be considered to be a director for the purposes of company law.