The Wokingham Paper

Bid launched with High Court to strike off two Wokingham estate agency directors

Richard Worth and Michael Hardy
The CMA wants to strike off the directors of Richard Worth and Michael Hardy – the company currently trading as Richard Worth is not connected to the Richard Worth investigated by the CMA

A BID to disqualify two Wokingham estate agency directors has been made after the price fixing cartel was broken up. 

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it has issued proceedings in the High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts against Stephen Jones, a director of Richard Worth Holdings Limited and Richard Worth Limited (in administration); and Neal Mackenzie, a director of Michael Hardy & Company (Wokingham) Limited, Michael Hardy & Company (Lettings) Limited and Geocharbert UK Limited.

The CMA said that the proceedings follow its ruling of December 17 last year that Richard Worth – not the company currently trading under that name – and Michael Hardy, together with two other estate agencies – Romans and Prospect – entered into an anti-competitive agreement to fix a minimum level of commission fees for the provision of residential sales services in the Berkshire area.

This, the CMA said, could have prevented homeowners from securing the best possible deal when selling their properties, as they were unable to shop around all their local agents for better rates.

Now, the CMA has applied to the court to disqualify the two directors under section 9A of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 following the breach of competition law. 

It added that provided they continue to comply with the terms of their leniency agreement, there would be no attempt to disqualify the co-operating directors of the two other agencies, which qualified for leniency under the CMA’s leniency policy.

Under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, the CMA may seek the disqualification of an individual from holding a company directorship or performing certain roles in relation to a company for a specified period where that individual was a director of a company which has breached competition law and their conduct makes them unfit to be a director. 

The CMA may seek disqualification by court order or may accept a legally binding undertaking.

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