Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eastenders and LLPs

Limited Liability Partnerships first became a reality in the UK as from 6 April 2001. That morning I was interviewed on Radio 5 live and then on BBC Breakfast TV and was asked the inevitable question "So what exactly is an LLP?"

I'd anticipated this and had tested a number of simple explanations that might make sense to the man in the street. The principal point I wanted to get across was that the members of an LLP are not jointly and severally liable as are the partners in a conventional business partnership.

In the end though I chose an analogy involving the previous night's episode of the popular TV soap, Eastenders. Viewers had just found out 'Who shot Phil Mitchell'.

So I explained: Take Eastenders for example, If Steve, Dan, Ian, Mark and Lisa were in a business partnership they could all be sued even though only one of them had done something wrong - but if they were in business as an LLP, only Lisa who did the dirty deed, could be sued."

I recall that Sara Coburn, the interviewer, only just managed to retain her composure and made clear to the viewers that she had never expected to be discussing Eastenders during the Business section of the programme.

For my part I was just relieved that no one who saw the show pointed out the flaw in my analogy: Shooting Phil was a criminal act and partners are NOT jointly and severally liable in such cases!
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