A couple who engaged in property development on borrowed money must face up to their multi-million-pound debts after the High Court ruled that their various defences to a bank’s claim were either hopeless or stood no reasonable prospect of success.

The couple, who carried on business via an unincorporated trust, had enjoyed the benefit of a £3 million loan facility to provide them with working capital. They argued, amongst other things, that they had been released in writing from the terms of the facility; that the bank had failed to disclose its own severe financial difficulties and that legal proceedings had not been properly served on the wife.

All the couple’s defences were, however, ruled unviable by the Court and summary judgment was entered in the bank’s favour for almost £2 million, that being the sum that remained outstanding under the facility.

A further £505,000 loan, secured by way of mortgage against the trust’s interest in a residential property, had not been properly executed in that the trustees’ signatures on the deed had not been attested as they should have been. However, the Court found that the bank nevertheless held an equitable charge over the property.