United Kingdom Insolvency Law - Procedures


See also: Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code

As a company nears insolvency, UK law provides four main procedures by which the company could potentially be rescued or wound down and its assets distributed. First, a company voluntary arrangement, allows the directors of a company to reach an agreement with creditors to potentially accept less repayment in the hope of avoiding a more costly administration or liquidation procedure and less in returns overall. However, only for small private companies is a statutory moratorium on debt collection by secured creditors available. Second, and since the Enterprise Act 2002 the preferred insolvency procedure, a company which is insolvent can go under administration. Here a qualified insolvency practitioner will replace the board of directors and is charged with a public duty of rescuing the company in the interests of all creditors, rescuing the business through a sale, getting a better result for creditors than immediate liquidation, or if nothing can be done effecting an orderly winding up and distribution of assets. Third, administrative receivership is a procedure available for a fixed list of eight kinds of operation (such as public-private partnerships, utility projects and protected railway companies) where the insolvency practitioner is appointed by the holder of a floating charge that covers a company's whole assets. This stems from common law receivership where the insolvency practitioner's primary duty was owed to the creditor that appointed him. After the Insolvency Act 1986 it was increasingly viewed to be unacceptable that one creditor could manage a company when the interests of her creditor might conflict with those holding unsecured or other debts. Fourth, when none of these procedures is used, the business is wound up and a company's assets are to be broken up and sold off, a liquidator is appointed. All procedures must be overseen by a qualified insolvency practitioner. While liquidation remains the most frequent end for an insolvent company, UK law since the Cork Report has aimed to cultivate a "rescue culture" to save companies that could be viable.

Read more about this topic:  United Kingdom Insolvency Law

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