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Fourteen years on from Norman Lamont’s “green shoots of economic spring”, Britain’s gross domestic product continues to grow: recession and widespread corporate failure seem to belong to another era. Today, no insolvency lawyer under the age of 35 knows what it is like to work through a slump, although many will have been involved in the protracted fallout from Barlow Clowes, BCCI, Maxwell, Polly Peck and Olympia & York. But, while the recessions of 1973-’74, 1980-’81 and 1990-’91 were frenetic times in insolvency, some business failures – Barings, Enron and Marconi – will inevitably happen, no matter how buoyant the economy.

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