This article examines the Poulson affair of the early 1970s. In so doing it examines two areas in particular. First, the role of the bankruptcy law public examination procedure in exposing Cabinet level involvement in the corrupt practices of the bankrupt architect, John Garlick Llewellyn Pouslon. In the course of his 1972 bankruptcy proceedings, in Wakefield, it emerged that Poulson had used, through one of his companies, the services of Reginald Maudling MP, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and at the time of Poulson's bankruptcy Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister in Edward Heath's government. As a result of his involvement in Poulson's affairs Maudling was compelled to resign as Home Secretary. In the course of the next three years or so Poulson, T. Dan Smith, Pottinger and several others were convicted of bribery offences in the Leeds Crown Court and sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment. The second main area examined in this article highlights the attempt to curtail the public examination of Poulson through the undermining of the trustee in bankruptcy's silk, namely, Mr Muir Hunter QC. In examining the bankruptcy public examination procedure the article tests whether the demise in the importance of public examinations has harmed the effectiveness and social benefit of English and Welsh personal insolvency law.
Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.