At 12:42 on 30 September 2013, the following comment was received about the above article:
"I'm slightly confused by this.The reply to the above would not fit into a standard comments box, so it is published here instead.
I'm a big reader here, but on this one I must say i'm lost. Can I get some clarification:
James Stevens has registered a company. But how is that illegal.
Also, if Nicki Williams is trading as Tall Poppies Consultants LTD... But hasn't registered the company to begin with, surely it is she who is in the wrong here, not James? Can I just ask why the Editor has not picked up on this point?"
HPT Editor replies:
Thank you for your comment.
In the UK, every business has a formal legal structure. There are several different legal structures to choose from. These include: Sole Trader; Limited Liability Partnership; Unlimited Partnership; Private Limited Company; Public Limited Company.
The two business structures that are relevant to this matter are Sole Trader and Private Limited Company.
Ms Nicki Williams was a sole trader, with the trading name of Tall Poppies Consultants.
So far as can be established, this business was going to be incorporated. The business name would then be, with effect from the date of incorporation, Tall Poppies Consultants Limited. The business structure would then be private limited company, again with effect from the date of incorporation.
For reasons that only the Stevens family of New Mills can give an explanation for, a newly created limited company was registered at Companies House on 26 July 2013. It was formed by James Alexander Stevens of that family, with himself as sole director and no company secretary. The name that he chose to use for the new company was Tall Poppies Consultants Ltd.
Susan Stevens is the (currently suspended from work) town clerk in the town of New Mills, and mother of James Alexander Stevens. The father/husband is Alistair Stevens, who stood for Parliament in this constituency at the last general election. It is not clear who is the brains of the outfit.
From the above date (26 July 2013), if Ms Williams still wishes to incorporate her HR business, she will have to use a different form of words for the new limited company. There are several million registered limited companies active in the UK, so these subtle, slight name differences between companies are not unusual.
Every limited company has a unique company registration number. Ms Williams would be well advised to ensure this number is clearly shown on every document of the new limited company, along with its registered office address. The registered office address can be different from the trading address.
James Stevens taking it upon himself to form and register a 'cuckoo in the nest' company using the name Tall Poppies Consultants Ltd is not illegal.
It is weird, and it is very strange behaviour to be sure, and it's not what any normal personality would conceive of, even less carry through into action, and one would think that a 25-year old man would have more important things to attend to, and given all of the circumstances the act is ethically dubious and morally questionable, and it may even be a signifier of stalker tendency or latent mental health issues. But it's not illegal.
Here are the commercial laws of this country that are now relevant to James Alexander Stevens:
If James Alexander Stevens attempts to pass off this business as anything even remotely to do with Nicki Williams, then that would be illegal. (Common law tort: passing off.)
James Alexander Stevens is now under a legal duty to promote the success of the new limited company Tall Poppies Consultants Ltd (Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006).
Stating a false occupation on an official Companies House form is against the law. Indeed any statement to Companies House that is misleading, false or deceptive in any material particular is a criminal offence. This is Section 1112 of the Companies Act 2006.
James Alexander Stevens made the material false statement to Companies House, in writing, that he is a HR Consultant.
The punishment available to the Court upon conviction under Section 1112 above is imprisonment up to two years, or a fine, or both.
We shall end with Dostoevsky, words from over a century ago:
As at 1 October 2013, Companies House shows that Tall Poppies Consultants Learning Training Development Limited has been registered with company number 8712571. This is the HR company that is genuinely associated with Ms Nicki Williams.