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Winding Up Petition

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We never like to talk about financial difficulty and more often than not we find ourselves pushing it to the back of our minds, rather than accepting the situation and facing it head on.

However, more often than not, there is no sense in delaying the inevitable, but don’t worry, we currently offer a number of insolvency options and we may be able to provide help in the form of a Winding Up Petition.

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How Does a Winding Up Order Work?

So, exactly what is this order – and how does it work? Well, a winding up order or petition is a legally binding notice that is issued by a creditor with the intention of forcing a company into closure. A WUP is court ordered and usually follows a successful petition and immediately after the order has been issued, the Official Receive will ten commence the process of wind up the company.

Fear not, though, as a WUP is not always the only option and you may be able to prevent it – if you act quickly enough after receiving it. For example, if you pay off your debts to the creditor (including the costs of serving the petition) then you may be able to avoid the WUP.

You could also look into obtaining an administration order, or negotiating a Company Voluntary Arrangement with the company’s creditors. On the other hand, you may want to consider going into voluntary liquidation, or even request that the courts adjourn or cancel the hearing, provided you offer sufficient evidence.

In terms of timescales, a WUP generally takes around 4-6 weeks to reach court, but this depends entirely on how busy the courts are at the time – and it’s always worth remembering that Courts often close for periods over the summer and at Christmas.

It’s also worth noting that you can expect your company bank account or accounts to be frozen by the bank immediately after a winding up petition has been advertised in the Gazette. In some cases, it’s not unheard of to get this overturned, but only in extreme cases where clear supporting evidence is provided.

So what are the consequences? Well, if you’re a company director, your conduct will we investigated and if found guilty of misconduct, you could find yourself being disqualified as a director for anything from 2-15 years. You will also be in serious trouble if you’re found to be trading after knowing the company was insolvent and you may then be held personally liable for any debts that occurred after this time.

Winding Up Petition Process UK

The winding up petition process in the UK is actually relatively straight forward, so please don’t feel too overwhelmed by the whole situation – as we are always here to help.

Firstly, after the petition has been issued, you will have up to seven days to offer your response before the petition can be advertised formally. Do bear in mind that this 7-day window is the only chance you / the directors will have to possibly prevent compulsory liquidation by carrying out one of the options mentioned above.

Then, when the order has been issued, an Official Receiver will be appointed by the courts and the company will then be liquidated – with all assets being distributed between its creditors, in order of priority.

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Issuing a Company WUP

If the shoe is on the other foot and you wish to issue a company with a WUP, we can help walk you through this process also. In order to do so, you must be owed at least £750 by said company and you must be able to prove that they are unable to pay you. If this is the case, you will then be required to fill out all the relevant paper work and then send them to the appropriate court in order to formally start the process.

To which court you send the paperwork will depend entirely on how much paid up share capital the company has – information on which can be found via the Companies House Register. For example, if the capital is greater than the sum of £120,000, the petition will need to go through the high court. Whereas if the capital sum is less than £120,000, this will need to go through the court nearest the company’s registered office.

After you have applied, you will receive a copy of the petition which you will then need to deliver (or serve) to the company director, or an employee. When you’ve done this, you will then need to provide a certificate of service to the court – this essentially just confirms that the petition has been served on the company. You will then need to send a copy to the relevant liquidator before a date for a court hearing is announced.

Winding Up Petition Costs

Please be aware, although you may be owed money, there are still costs involved with issuing a winding up petition. Currently, you can expect to pay court fees equating to £280 - as well as £1,600 petition deposit to manage the order. However, you may be able to get the fees back, if the court deems that the company in question is able to repay them.

There are also service proceedings costs that will need to be considered and the current fee for this can be anywhere between £75 and £100. Finally, there’s also the small matter of the Gazette Advertising costs, which currently sit at £79.40, plus VAT.

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So, what’s next? If you’ve been on the receiving end of a winding up petition / order, it’s imperative that you seek professional advice as soon as possible because, as we mentioned previously, you only have a small window of time in which to act.

Alternatively, if you’re considering issuing a WUP, we can help with this too. So please don’t hesitate to get in contact I order to find out what the best option is for you or your company.

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