Court favors in specie distribution in partnership dissolution case

Citation: [2023] EWHC 3028 (Ch)
Judgment on


The High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, in “Jaswinder Singh Bahia v Inderdeep Singh Sidhu & Anor: 2023 EWHC 3028 (Ch),” presided over by Deputy Judge Mr. Nicholas Thompsell, addresses the dissolution and the winding up of a partnership, handling of partnership assets, the appointment of a receiver, and the appropriate methods of enforcing and satisfying judgment debts. The key issues revolved around whether the partnership properties should be sold or transferred and the replacement of the receiver.

Key Facts

Mr. Bahia, the claimant, and the Sidhus are parties to a partnership dissolution. Previously, the Sidhus were ordered to restore monies to the partnership due to a failure to account for benefits received from the partnership. The Sidhus argued their inability to repay the Judgment Debts without the sale of partnership properties. The claimant proposed transferring certain properties to himself as a form of interim distribution in specie, while the Sidhus suggested selling the properties at auction. Additionally, the claimant proposed Mr. Savvas Socratous of Alexander Lawson Surveyors Ltd to replace the resigning receiver, Mr. Pabla.

Partnership Dissolution

The court applied Section 39 of the Partnership Act 1890 and case law principles to determine the disposition of partnership properties, such as in Syers v Syers (1876) and Campbell v Campbell [2017] EWHC 182 (Ch), which allow for a flexible approach in the distribution of assets upon partnership dissolution, including direct distributions or auctions.

Receiver Appointment

The appointment of a receiver was guided by the need for fair representation and the manageability of the existing property portfolio. Past cases pointed to the necessity of an unbiased and competent receiver who is seen to be impartial.

Application of Judgment Debt

The court tackled the application of the judgment debt against the partnership assets, as the claimant sought to offset his entitlement against the Sidhus’ debt to the partnership, an approach considered under the inherent jurisdiction of the court and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Valuation of Partnership Properties

The valuation of properties was contentious, with debates over the appropriateness of the Alexander Lawson valuation report. The court had to consider equity and fairness, along with practical and cost-effective methods of property distribution or sale.

Auction vs. Transfer in Specie

The court contrasted the sale of properties at auction with direct transfer to partners and evaluated which approach best serves justice, cost-efficiency, and expediency, as discussed in the cases of Benge v Benge [2017] EWHC 2124 and Hugh Stevenson & Sons Ltd v Aktiengesellschaft für Cartonnagen-Industrie [1917].


The court favored the Claimant’s proposal, providing for an immediate distribution in specie of the Schedule A properties to Mr. Bahia and deeming it a distribution towards satisfaction of the Judgment Debts. It ordered that an independent valuation would be arranged if necessary, ensuring fairness. Additionally, Mr. Socratous was appointed as the new receiver, with an allowance for future reconsideration if better terms or management concerns arise.


The case “Jaswinder Singh Bahia v Inderdeep Singh Sidhu & Anor” exemplifies the court’s discretion in partnership dissolution matters, where the justice of the case outweighs the presumption of property auction. It reaffirmed the court’s capacity to order a partition or in specie distribution of assets and to fashion an appropriate remedy based upon the circumstances presented. The appointment of a receiver was resolved in favor of continuity and expertise in property management, subject to the caveat of reassessment upon evidential dissatisfaction. The legal framework applied by the court ensured equitable treatment of both parties within the bounds established by the partnership agreement, statute, and case law precedents.