Home Jurisdiction Court grants Steinhoff leave to appeal disputed jurisdiction in liquidation case

Court grants Steinhoff leave to appeal disputed jurisdiction in liquidation case

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Steinhoff has argued that he cannot face a liquidation hearing in a South African court.

The Western Cape High Court has allowed retailer Steinhoff to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in the liquidation offer it is facing.

This means that the liquidation offer against Steinhoff, brought by the former owners of shoe retailer Tekkie Town, will be on hold while SCA examines whether a South African court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

In early September, Presiding Judge Hayley Slingers ruled that the tribunal had jurisdiction under company law over the SA to hear the case. Steinhoff then sought leave to appeal, which was finally heard last week. He argued a separate postponement case earlier in the week.

In her decision on Friday, Slingers said that while she likely would not have granted leave to appeal at this stage of the proceedings based on the evidence available to her, the fact that Steinhoff has a case pending before the SCA forced his hand.

The judge said it would now be up to the SCA to consider whether repeated applications for leave to appeal and adjournments by Steinhoff and a group claiming to represent financial creditors amounted to a wise and robust lawyer or confined to an “abuse of process”.

Lawyers for the former owners of shoe retailer Tekkie Town argued on Wednesday that the retailer was trying to manipulate the postponement requests so that he did not have to wonder if he was insolvent.

Steinhoff denied this, saying it was “reprehensible and utterly inappropriate” to claim he was attempting to manipulate the court process.

The retailer has argued that as an “external company” registered abroad, it cannot be subject to liquidation proceedings by a South African court. Since 2015, the group’s umbrella holding company has been domiciled in Amsterdam.


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