How to serve a Winding Up Petition

It is integral for a winding up petition to be served by the petitioner upon the debtor, according to paragraph 2 of Schedule 4 to the Insolvency Rules 2016 (rule 7.9(1)).

Where does the 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 who:

  • at the time of service acknowledges being a director, other office or employee of the company;
  • is to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person serving the petition, a director, other officer or employee of the company; or
  • acknowledges being authorised to accept service of documents on behalf of the company.

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. For example, it can be served by:

  • placing it in a letterbox; or
  • placing it on a table, desk, chair, the floor or a radiator; or
  • placing it on a receptionist’s desk.

What if the winding up petition can not be served at the registered office of the debtor?

If the debtor company has no registered office or the company is unregistered then the petition can be served by leaving it at the company’s last known principal place of business or upon the director, manager or secretary of the company (wherever that person may be found).

It should be noted that the above paragraph applies if:

  • for any reason it is not practicable to serve a petition at a company’s registered office;
  • the company has no registered office; or
  • the company is an unregistered company.

Who else must a winding up petition be served upon?

The petitioner must also, within three business days after the day on which the petition is served on the company, deliver a copy of the petition to:

  • Any voluntary liquidator, administrative receiver, administrator, supervisor of a voluntary arrangement or, until the end of the UK-EU transition period, EU member state liquidator appointed to the company.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority or Prudential Regulation Authority (as appropriate) if either body is entitled to be heard at the hearing of the petition in accordance with section 371 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

(Rule 7.9(3)-(5), IR 2016.)

Certificate of Service

The service of a winding-up petition must be verified by a certificate of service (paragraph 6(1), Schedule 4, IR 2016) (Form N215). In practice, the petitioner will often instruct a process server to effect service of the petition, so the certificate of service will need to be provided by the process server.

The certificate of service must:

  • Identify the application or petition.
  • Identify the company, where the application or petition relates to a company.
  • Identify the debtor, where the application relates to an individual.
  • Identify the applicant or petitioner.
  • Specify:
    • the court or hearing centre in which the application was made or at which the petition was filed, and the court reference number,
    • the date of the application or petition,
    • whether the copy served was a sealed copy,
    • the person(s) served, and
    • the manner of service and the date of service.
  • Be verified by a statement of truth.

The IR 2016 do not provide a time limit for the certificate of service to be filed at court. The court has indicated that it should be filed as soon as reasonably practicable after service of the petition (consistent with rule 4.9A(4) of the IR 1986 in force before 6 April 2017). In any event, it should be filed with the certificate of compliance, at least five business days before the hearing of the petition (rule 7.12(1), IR 2016).

How we can help your company

As a leading law firm with a track record of success, you can be assured that your matter is in safe hands. Our success rate is a result of the dedication of our lawyers who will diligently review your matter so it has the best possible chance of success from the outset when it matters the most.

Why should you instruct a specialist insolvency lawyer at the winding up petition hearing?

The rules surrounding insolvency are technical and it is unlikely that a someone not versed in personal insolvency laws will achieve a successful outcome. Winding up particularly and insolvency in general is a niche practice area – indeed many solicitors in general practice will rarely have experience in this discipline.

Do not underestimate the severe consequences that an inadequate service of a winding-up petition entails. It is likely that seeking the advice of a specialist insolvency lawyer will be of far more benefit to you than ignoring impending proceedings or seeking to conduct the litigation yourself as a layman.

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.

Instruct Specialist Insolvency Lawyers

We provide a no cost initial case review to establish whether or not we can help you. We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers and based in the Middle Temple Inn of Court adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice.  We are experts in dealing with matters surrounding insolvency in particular issues.  Our team have unparalleled experience at serving statutory demands, negotiating with debtors/creditors, setting aside statutory demands and 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

Want legal advice on the merits of your case?

Our simple enquiry form goes immediately to our insolvency team in Middle Temple, London. Call us on +442071830529 from 9am-6pm.

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