We are leading experts specialising in insolvency proceedings. Our experienced City of London solicitors and barristers regularly assist companies facing a HMRC winding up petition; individuals served a statutory demand; or creditors owed money and considering issuing a winding up petition.
What is a Winding Up Petition?
The winding up petition is the precursor to the compulsory liquidation of a company or the dissolution of a partnership if not properly dealt with by the Directors or Partners and in essence means that a creditor is asking the Court to wind up a business and have an insolvency practitioner distribute the assets of that business amongst all creditors.
Presenting a winding up petition to the Court is the most serious debt recovery action that can be taken by a creditor. It requires the petitioner to be able to demonstrate that it has a liquidated debt of at least £750 which is not in dispute, this is normally evidenced by a statutory demand which is not set aside or a Judgment of the Court. Winding up petitions may be issued at Court against either a Company or a Partnership, the latter (a petition to wind up a partnership) is usually accompanied by individual bankruptcy petitions for each of the partners.
What is the procedure to present a Winding Up Petition?
Petitions are in the main issued and then heard at the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (Companies Court) which is based at the Royal Courts of Justice (Rolls Building) in London. They can also be issued and dealt with at other High Court District Registries or at a County Court with jurisdiction in insolvency matters (if the paid up or credited share capital is below £120,000). LEXLAW Solicitors & Barristers have professional legal chambers in the Middle Temple Inn of Court which is adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice where the Companies Court is located. This location in the legal heart of London ensures we are able to take urgent instructions and act quickly on behalf of the firm’s clients.
Where does a Winding Up Petition have to be served?
In general, the winding up petition must be served at the registered office of the company and handed to a person at that address. If there is no one at the registered office that accepts service, then the petition may be served by depositing it at or about the registered office e.g. by attaching the petition to a fixture or fitting.
What happens after a Winding Up Petition is issued?
Once a winding up petition is issued by a creditor such as HMRC it is then served on the company usually by a process server visiting the company’s registered office address or sometimes by first class post. Once a petition is served there is very limited time for Directors to act decisively and deal with a company’s debts and the company will urgently need specialist legal advice (and representation at the Companies Court hearing) to help it fight back and ensure the business stays alive.
As specialist winding up lawyers, we can help the company to get enough time to manage or settle large debts or to dispute the monies claimed in the petition. With the correct legal guidance it is perfectly possible to obtain time and resolve the debt even if the creditor won’t initially agree to sensible time to pay proposals; there are legal arguments and applications that can be deployed in the company’s favour.
How are Winding Up Petitions Advertised?
Once the company has been served with the petition the creditor can after a period of seven days advertise the petition in the London Gazette. This advert can only be stopped by legal negotiations between the parties or by Court injunction to restrain advertisement.
If the petition is nevertheless publicly advertised the Company’s bank accounts will usually be frozen by the Bank as the banks won’t wish to risk falling foul of section 127 of the Insolvency Act 1986. As a result of s.127, upon liquidation any disposal of company property (such as a cheque paid, or an asset sold or transferred) and any transfer of company shares will be of no effect, unless the court orders otherwise. Freezing of a company’s bank accounts can force a company to stop trading. In these circumstances our specialist insolvency counsel help companies to persuade the Court to grant Validation Orders which either generally or specifically permit certain transactions. Validation orders are the only route by which to unfreeze bank accounts.
How do I perform a Winding Up Petition Search?
Prior to issuing a winding up petition, you must always check with the Companies Court as to whether another petition already has already been presented. The first petition is the one that takes precedence (whether advertised or not) and any subsequent petition is likely to be dismissed with an adverse costs order against the petitioner.
We can conduct a winding up petition search for our clients who are intending to issue a petition via the Court which will confirm if any liquidation, winding up or striking-off documents have been filed. We will also confirm if any notices have been placed in the London Gazette. If adverse entries are filed, relevant copies will be provided. We can also do winding up searches for clients that are required to wind a company up and need further information, namely: Date of Incorporation, Any changes of name, Registered Office, Objects, Nominal & Issued Capital, Copy Mortgage Register.
What happens at the Winding Up Petition hearing?
After service of the winding up petition, the Court is involved and a date will usually be set for a winding up petition hearing in the general Companies Court list.
Due to CIGA 2020 there may be an extra step before the hearing which is a non-attendance review by an insolvency judge.
Who attends the Winding Up Petition hearing?
The petitioner, creditors, anyone with an interest in the company’s property, the company and its’ shareholders all have the right to attend the hearing and be heard at the hearing.
Where is the hearing?
In London, winding up petitions are heard at the Insolvency and Companies Court from 10:30am in the Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1NL.
We are located 5 minutes walk from the Court and are therefore able to provide urgent representation. However, this is subject to capacity and receiving instructions in a timely manner.
Why use a Specialist Winding Up Petition Solicitor?
The insolvency and Court rules relating to winding up proceedings are a technical minefield; as expert winding up petition solicitors we help our clients to avoid suffering the ‘usual compulsory order’.
We assist by protecting the companies interests and by negotiating with creditors and advising and representing the company at Court. Retaining insolvency solicitors and barristers in particular assists in dealings with creditors (such as HMRC) who will know a company is taking matters seriously and responsibly when they instruct ourselves.
Not based in London? We provide nationwide representation
That does not matter, we will represent you no matter where you are based in England or Wales.
If you contact us through our contact form, by email or by phone, one of our winding up petition team members will contact you by phone to discuss your matter and assess whether we can help you.
If we can, we will arrange a conference with a senior member of our winding up petition team. This meeting will take place either in person or using our telephone conference facilities or via Skype if you prefer. Therefore, no matter where you are based in England or Wales we can represent you.
Our Winding Up Solicitors get the best results
We endeavour to make the process as stress-free as possible for our clients and seek to eliminate the possibility of business failure. We consider that each client’s case and business is unique, therefore we adopt a bespoke approach tailored to suit individual circumstances. We provide specialist senior legal advice from solicitors and barristers at the outset when it absolutely matters in choosing the best strategy to follow. We are regularly instructed by regional solicitors’ firms to give specialist advice on legal strategy and costs as well as to manage winding up proceedings as agents and as advocates in the High Court. We assist our clients by:
- Opposing or Stopping a winding up petition
- Obtaining an adjournment of winding up proceedings
- Applying for injunctions to restrain advertisement in the London Gazette
- Applying to the Court for validation orders to unfreeze bank accounts
- Liaising with HMRC and other creditors
- Court representation and advocacy before a Registrar or Judge
- Advising the Company or Partnership on winding up petition procedure
- Advising Directors on risks and insolvency routes
- Developing (and aiding implementation of) strategies that allow the business to continue
How can we offer company rescue and turnaround advice?
We add value by our legal services by guiding clients as to how best companies can be rescued and turned around and how debts can be written off or restructured. We can advise on administration or proposals of either Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) or Partnership and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (PVAs or IVAs). To achieve a company rescue you must act quickly; contact us as soon as possible. The more time available to build an alternative business plan, the more successful it is likely to be. If your company can be saved, whether this is achievable through restructuring or writing off debts, the team at LEXLAW Solicitors & Barristers can help by offering clear, practical and easy to understand advice which deciphers the Insolvency Rules and regime.
Meet our Specialist Winding-up Petition Lawyers
We’re masters of insolvency dispute litigation. We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers. We’re based in the Middle Temple Inns of Court (next to the Royal Courts of Justice where the High Court and Central London County Courts are based). We’re experts in dealing with matters surrounding insolvency in particular our team have unparalleled experience at both issuing and defending winding up petitions vigorously at the Royal Courts of Justice (Rolls Building), or the relevant High Court District Registry or County Court with jurisdiction under the Insolvency Rules. We provide a quick no cost initial telephone case review to establish whether or not we can help you; just call one of our team on 02071830529.
Optimal Legal Results.
Our litigators deliver advanced legal strategies.
We analyse and work out the legal merits of running your case to trial. We calculate and advise on legal risk factors and the litigation rules in England & Wales. We factor in your risk-appetite, costs sensitivity and determination. Together, we plan the best possible result.
You’ll receive strategic legal advice at your first meeting.
Please note that if you have been warned about your file being passed to HMRC’s Solicitor’s Office or have been served a statutory demand or winding-up petition do not delay in taking legal advice. Your matter can be handled more effectively the sooner you contact us.