If you have a PayPal account, we are asking you to simply donate £1 to our HBOS Transcript Appeal.

So if you would like to donate:-


1.  Go to www.paypal.com to log into your account.

2.  Click on “Send Money”.

3.  Then enter our PayPal email which is info@unfairpak.co.uk and the amount you  wish to donate.


Your donation will help Farepak victims buy the transcript of the Farepak Hearing and get to the bottom of the bank’s (HBOS) conduct.  We are only asking for £1 as every £1 helps but you are more than welcome to donate more.  Any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your assistance in this appeal and if you want to read more about it, you can here http://www.unfairpak.co.uk/2012/08/17/appeal/



Mrs Burns, for the Secretary of State, Insolvency Service finished giving evidence on behalf of said Secretary of State today and cross examination began by all defence counsels.  Mrs Burns had been giving evidence for 2 days on behalf of the Secretary of State and cross examination will continue again tomorrow, 31 May 2012.

Unfairpak would like to thank Simon Neville from the Guardian who took the time to go down to court today and see if he could report on same.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that Mrs Burns was beginning to be cross examined, Simon was not in possession of the evidence that had been heard over the last couple of days.  However, he did let us know that the defence were stating that the Insolvency Service were not offering any suggestions for what the directors should have done sooner.  Unfortunately, Mr Justice Peter Smith seemed to concur, stating “The Secretary of State [Vince Cable] wants me to disqualify these directors for doing too little too late……”.  “….. But you’ve given me nothing to suggest what they should have done differently”.  We at Unfairpak feel it is a little too early into the trial for the judge to be making such a statement but we have to concede that we have not heard whether Mrs Burns did offer up any suggestions as to what the directors should have done differently.  Judging on what Mr Justice Peter Smith has said, it appears she [Mrs Burns] offered nothing.

As we have already reported, the schedule is running behind.  We can confirm that witnesses that were supposed to give evidence today were told to come tomorrow and have now been told it will be changed to “sometime in the future”.

Unfairpak have always stated that this is a complex case and perhaps now people may begin to understand why it has taken so long to get to the stage it is currently at.  The trial is set down for 6 to 8 weeks but it may run longer.  We shall just have to wait and see.

There are two more days this week for evidence to be heard and then court will be closed for the holiday on Monday and Tuesday, 4th and 5th June respectively.

We shall, of course, keep you up to date with any further information we receive.



Wednesday, 30 May 2012
At 10 o’clock
HC12A01404 Quayle v Rothman Pantail & Co
Not Before half past 10
Part Heard
584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd




Sir Peter Winston Smith (born 1 May 1952), styled The Hon Mr Justice Peter Smith, is a Judge of the High Court of Justice in England and Wales, appointed to that office on 15 April 2002 and assigned to the Chancery Division.[1] His name is correctly abbreviated in English legal writing as “Peter Smith J,” and not as “Smith J,” because there are other senior judges also named Smith.

He has presided over several prominent cases, which include a suit between boxer Lennox Lewis and his promoter Panos Eliades, as well as a copyright case involving the novel The Da Vinci Code. In the latter case, he rejected a claim by authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail that Dan Brown had violated copyright by copying major themes from their work. More recently, Peter Smith J presided over a huge claim by the Attorney General of Zambia for recovery of the proceeds of fraud.[2] He was also involved in the early stages of the £100m Chelsea Barracks development, before being replaced at the last minute before the case came to trial.

In 2008 he was reprimanded by the Lord Chief Justice for his misconduct in the “Addleshaw Goddard matter”.


Smith was born in Taiping, Malaysia to George Arthur Smith and Iris Muriel Smith, while his father was posted abroad. He grew up with five siblings in Hornsea, East Yorkshire, and attended grammar school in nearby Bridlington.

He read law at Selwyn College, Cambridge. After receiving a BA degree in 1974 and an MA degree in 1976, Smith briefly practised in Liverpool before becoming a law lecturer at Manchester University from 1977-1983. Smith practised as a barrister on the Northern Circuit from 1979–2002, being an Assistant Recorder from 1994–97, a Deputy High Court Judge from 1996–2002, and a Recorder from 1997-2002. Upon his elevation to the High Court bench in 2002, Sir Peter was knighted as a matter of course.[3] In 2003 he was voted most unpopular chancery judge in a survey by Legal Business magazine.

In 1980, Smith married Diane Dalgleish. They have one son and two daughters. Smith is a member of the Titanic Historical Society and the British Titanic Society. Other hobbies include being a “Jackie Fisher fan”, reading military history, and football. He lives in Shropshire. In 2010 he made a controversial planning application for conversion of the coach house and porter’s lodge at his home into residential dwellings.

[edit] The Da Vinci Code and the “Smithy Code”

In April 2006, Smith ruled that Dan Brown had not breached the copyright of Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of the pseudo-historical book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. While Brown had taken ideas from the earlier book, he did not copy the “central theme” of his book from there. As ideas themselves cannot be copyrighted, Smith ruled that Brown had therefore not substantially copied the original work.[4]

Within his printed judgment,[5] which was delivered on 7 April 2006, the judge embedded a coded message, apparently placed for amusement. The first few pages contained scattered letters which were italicised. The first section spelt ‘smithy code’, followed by a number of other seemingly random letters. The judge stated that he would not discuss the code as he was not able to talk about his ruling, but that he would confirm any correct attempt to break it.

However, it was later learned that the judge had given a series of email hints about the code, which was finally announced as cracked on 28 April 2006, by Daniel Tench, a lawyer and media journalist for The Guardian newspaper.[6] The plain text reads: “Smithy Code. Jackie Fisher, who are you? Dreadnought.” This related to the subject of one of Smith’s personal interests, Admiral Lord (John) Fisher, who was responsible for the design of the battleship HMS Dreadnought. The ship was launched in February 1906, roughly 100 years before the start of the trial.

In the appeal to the Court of Appeal from the judge’s decision in the “The Da Vinci Code” case, the Court of Appeal said that the judge “was prompted by the extensive use in [The Da Vinci Code] of codes, and no doubt by his own interest in such things, to incorporate a coded message in his judgment, on which nothing turns. The judgment is not easy to read or to understand. It might have been preferable for him to have allowed himself more time for the preparation, checking and revision of the judgment.”[7]

[edit] The Addleshaw Goddard matter – the reprimand by the Lord Chief Justice

Smith spent some months in communication with London solicitor’s firm, Addleshaw Goddard relating to the possibility of employment by them. Those discussions came to nothing and there was considerable email correspondence as evidence of his disappointment. But in July 2007, about a month after the conclusion of those negotiations, the judge refused to stand down from hearing a heavily contested case (Howell v Lees Millais & Others) involving a partner in the same firm in his capacity as a trustee. On appeal from that decision, the Court of Appeal criticised the judge for his attitude and behaviour during the hearing when he was asked to step down and allowed the appeal, with the effect of removing him from the case.

In its unanimous judgments of 4 July 2007, the Court of Appeal described the judge’s behaviour in part as “intemperate” and “somewhat extraordinary”.[8] In one paragraph of his judgment, Lord Justice Judge said:

“It is the conduct of the hearing which underlines that the judge had become too personally involved in the decision he was being asked to make to guarantee the necessary judicial objectivity which would be required in the trustee proceedings. I identify three particular features. First, the witness who supported the application was in effect cross-examined by the judge in something of the style of an advocate instructed to oppose the application. Second, the submission by counsel for the applicant that the judge had given evidence was in the circumstances unsurprising, and the concerns he expressed on this topic were validly made. Finally, the judge impugned the good faith of the application, a conclusion repeated in the strongest terms in his judgment when there is no shred of evidence to suggest some ulterior or improper motive behind the application.”

In a concluding comment on the way in which the judge behaved, Lord Justice Judge said: ‘In these circumstances it is unfortunate to have to record that, in my judgment, the conduct of the hearing itself demonstrated not only that the application to the judge to recuse himself was rightly made, but that it should have been granted. ‘

The judge himself then issued a press release on the topic.[9] By 13 July 2007, Joshua Rozenberg, a well known legal journalist, was suggesting in the Daily Telegraph that it was time for the judge to stand down.[10]

On 16 July 2007, it was announced in a press release from the Judicial Communications Office that the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers had referred the judge’s behaviour in the case to the independent Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). Frances Gibb embarked on speculation as to whether the judge should stay in office in The Times on 18 July[11] and Rozenberg returned to the point on 19 July.[12] Both journalists mentioned the question of the judge’s health, but without going into detail.

The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor may refer for investigation by the OJC any matter where the conduct of a judicial office holder may warrant disciplinary proceedings. They may make this referral irrespective of whether there have been any complaints made by others. The Office for Judicial Complaints is obliged to consider the matter in accordance with the relevant statutory regulations.[13]

On 18 April 2008 it was announced in the following terms that the OJC had found that misconduct had been established against the judge.

Following investigation under the Judicial Discipline Regulations 2006, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice have carefully considered the Court of Appeal’s comments on the conduct of Mr Justice Peter Smith in the case of Howell and others v Lees-Millais and others and have concluded that the conduct in question amounted to misconduct.

As a result, the Lord Chief Justice has issued a reprimand to the judge.

The Lord Chief Justice has said: “I consider that a firm line has now been drawn under this matter. Both I and the Lord Chancellor value the services of Mr Justice Peter Smith and he has my full confidence.”

No statement was made by the judge.

Candy trial

Smith’s was replaced as judge at the last minute in the case between the Qatari royal family and Christian Candy, a property developer. Smith’s decisions in the pre-trial hearings were said to have upset the Qataris and he was replaced for the trial by Mr Justice Vos.



Tuesday, 29 May 2012
At half past 10
Part Heard
584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd


For some unknown reason our @unfairpak account has been suspended.  We have contacted Twitter but reading Google regarding suspended accounts suggests we may have to wait a while until the matter is resolved.

Until we can get @unfairpak back up and running, you can follow our National Campaign Co-ordinator, Suzy Hall @scotsgirlie as she is following all the up to date news regarding the trial of the Directors of Farepak and providing information regarding the liquidation of Farepak Food & Gifts Limited.

Unfairpak would like to apologise to our followers and we hope that Twitter can resolve the issue as soon as possible.  We shall inform you as soon as we are up and running again.

The story from the start

Farepak Hampers began trading in 1969 from Westmead Drive, Westlea, Swindon. By 2004, Farepak employed 130 core staff ­– and during hamper production employed an additional 150 temporary packers. By 2006, the number of employees had dropped to 20, with 75 additional temporary packers to be taken on during the Christmas period.

Farepak Hampers’ origins can be traced back as far as 1935. Bob Johnson was appointed Managing Director with 500 Agents of this small Christmas savings club in 1969 which operated out of a butchers shop in Peckham.

Alongside this, Kleeneze Homecare had been operating since 1923 (now Kleeneze UK) and was acquired by Farepak in 1995. Farepak changed its name to Kleeneze plc and at this time extracted the central part of their business to its subsidiary Farepak Food & Gifts Limited. Kleeneze plc changed names again in 2006, this time to European Home Retail plc (EHR).

On 30 June 2006 an announcement was posted on EHR’s website advising that their existing funding would not last past autumn and they would accordingly be seeking extra funding. The Hamper Industry Trade Association (HITA) – of which Farepak Food & Gifts Limited was a member – immediately contacted the EHR Directors and were given assurances that the required extra funding would be forthcoming.

EHR’s shares were suspended from trading on the Stock Exchange on 23 August 2006. Again, HITA contacted the EHR Directors and asked if Farepak customers’ payments would be ring-fenced, only to be advised that this was not necessary. Thereafter, on Friday 13 October 2006, Farepak Food & Gifts Limited, a subsidiary of European Home Retail Limited had an Administrator appointed following a rejection of a final proposal from their Bank, HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland). This led to the whole of European Home Retail being forced into Administration.

Farepak and other companies like it are a convenient way to save for Christmas by ordering your goods in the preceding January and making weekly payments thereafter – in this case, for 45 weeks. Customers could either deal direct with Farepak or become an Agent and secure their own client base (normally family, friends and work colleagues). In becoming an Agent they would receive a % commission on their sales, which could either be taken off their bill at the end of September, or taken in goods, or they could have a cheque sent to them. Farepak was developed originally as a traditional Christmas Hamper company and grew to be one of the largest Christmas saving schemes in the UK. Thousands of customers used Farepak for their range of hampers, gifts and shopping vouchers.

As Farepak stated themselves “We use the experience and knowledge of our friendly staff to ensure that our Agents receive hampers that contain the best branded products and the freshest meats, at great value prices”.

Farepak further went on to state “As one of the founding members of the Hamper Industry Trade Association, we adhere to the HITA Code of Practice to ensure the security of your savings and the safe delivery of your hampers and gifts”.

As all Agents and customers of Farepak will now know, the above statement was a false promise – Friday the 13th 2006 will almost certainly be remembered by thousands of people in the UK who had Christmas 2006 literally taken out of their hands…

The Enterprise Act 2002

Prior to 15 September 2003 far too much protection was given to secured creditors, in that a Receiver could be appointed who would look out for the interests of the secured creditor only. With this in mind, the UK Government passed the Enterprise Act 2002 which took effect on 15 September 2003. This Act was designed to give companies some breathing space and to delay or prevent liquidation (the death of the company). Accordingly, since the Enterprise Act 2002, Administrators are appointed to companies in trouble, and their duty is to look at the company as a whole, which is good news for unsecured creditors. Furthermore, the Government withdrew themselves as a preferential creditor after the passing of the Enterprise Act 2002. However – it has emerged that payments to customers from the Administrators will amount to around 4p for every £1 that was put in.

An Administrator is, as the word suggests, there to administer the affairs of the company. BDO Stoy Hayward have been appointed Administrators of Farepak Food & Gifts Limited. An Administrator must be a qualified or authorised insolvency practitioner. The powers of the Administrator are vast. They have the power to do whatever is necessary for the management of the company’s affairs, business or property. The can take possession and dispose of the company’s property. They can remove and appoint directors, and furthermore they can investigate the company’s affairs. The Administrator must give some indication as to how the company arrived at the position it now finds itself in.

If you have been wronged…

Shortly after the Farepak administration order was made public, many people began to scour the internet for further information on what had happened and what could be done. To this end, a forum was set up at http://www.unfairpak.co.uk/forum/ – there is a wealth of information to be found there, along with a helpful and supportive community, and practical advice on what to do.

First and foremost it is imperative that you register your claim with BDO Stoy Hayward. This can be done via any of the following routes:

through the company’s website www.farepak.co.uk

by phone – Claim Registration Line: 0870 066 9826 Open from 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week

by fax – 01793 606057

by post to:

Kings Wharf,

20-30 Kings Road,

Reading, Berkshire.

RG1 3EX.

If you are sending your claim by post we would suggest that you send photocopies and keep your original documents in a safe place. Furthermore, it would be sensible to send your documents ‘First Class Recorded Delivery’ and to keep the recorded delivery receipt with your original documents.

Within our forum we have Regional sections to enable you to get together with others affected in your area and begin campaigning.

There are various people that you can contact and complain to. The more that like-minded people like us keep Farepak in the media spotlight, the more likely it is that something will be done. Sadly, this is all ‘good news’ for media ratings, but as it will help maintain public interest in this story, it is in our interest to keep the media informed and to encourage responsible and representative journalism. A big thanks goes out to those journalists who have already done so.

Contact HITA (Hamper Industry Trade Association) and complain

Contact your MP – directly or through Writetothem

If you reside in Scotland contact your local MSP

Contact BBC Watchdog

Contact GMTV and other news channels (see forum for more details)

Contact BBC’s ‘Working Lunch

The Right Honourable Sir Ian McCartney MP is doing fantastic work, as is the Labour Party campaign led by Jeff Cuthbert, Welsh Assembly Member for Caerphilly – register your support here

Contact HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) and ask if they can shed any light on what happened (any HBOS shareholders out there?) corporateresponsibility@hbosplc.com

Much headway has already been made, and we suggest that you get involved by supporting local and national campaigns. You can help a lot – even from your armchair.

Possibly the only hope for victims’ cash is either in ‘chargeback’ if payments were made via Credit or Debit cards and some help will come from the Farepak Response Fund which was set up to collect donations and has so far raised over £4million.

This page will be updated again very shortly – as we endeavour to extract all useful info from the forum and from other sources.

We would also like to welcome viewers of BBC’s Working Lunch, who are doing an excellent job supporting the national campaign on behalf of the victims of Farepak. The little fish bites back!