Recission of Winding-Up Orders: Official Receiver’s Fees?

In HM Revenue and Customs v Direct Affinity Events Ltd and others [2019] EWHC 3063 (Ch), the High Court considered whether the original petitioner should be liable for the administration and general fees due to the Official Receiver upon the Court ordering a winding-up order.

The High Court held that the Official Receiver could retain the full amount of the petitioner’s deposit in respect of the Official Receiver’s fees, however, the Official Receiver was not entitled to claim any further fees in absence of chargeable receipt.

How much is a deposit?

Pursuant to Regulation 2(c) of the Insolvency Proceedings (Fees) Order 2016, a deposit in respect of the Official Receiver’s fees means:

‘on the presentation of a winding up petition, other than a petition presented under section 124A(c) of the Act, the sum of £1,600’

‘on the presentation of a winding-up petition under section 124A of the Act, the sum of £5,000’

Insolvency Proceedings (Fees) Order 2016

What are chargeable receipts?

Pursuant to Regulation 2 of the Insolvency Proceedings (Fees) Order 2016, chargeable receipt means:

‘the sums which are paid into the Insolvency Services Account after deducting any amounts which are paid out to secured creditors or paid out in carrying on the business of the bankrupt or the company’

Insolvency Proceedings (Fees) Order 2016

Does the recission make the winding-up order a nullity?

In this instant case, the Court clarified that the rescission did not nullify the original winding-up order. The Officer Receiver could, therefore, retain the petitioner’s deposit in full regardless of whether the Official Receiver incurred any expenses or time costs.

Only in circumstances where the petition was either withdrawn or dismissed, could the deposit be returned to the petitioner. HM Revenue and Customs v Direct Affinity Events Ltd and others has highlighted that the Court has unfettered discretion to award costs to the Official Receiver and could potentially make costs award against third parties.

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