First Meetings Generally

May 2012

Introduction

1. The meeting decision

The official receiver has to decide whether or not to hold a first meeting of creditors in every case. The decision will generally depend upon the nature and realisable value of any assets in the estate. In company matters where a decision has been made to hold a meeting of creditors there must also be a meeting of contributories. For more information see paragraph 3.

A decision as to whether or not to call a first meeting should normally be made following completion of the preliminary examination, when the Report to Creditors (RTC) is completed. The decision must be recorded on ISCIS through the ‘Decide whether to appoint an IP for case’ Workflow task.  This workflow task links to the ‘Creditors’ tab within ISCIS.  A ‘Book Meetings’ task will appear in the workflow list of the case officer assigned to the case and also in the workflow list of the staff assigned to the ’Meetings’ user group.

2. What are first meetings for?

First meetings should only be summoned where the appointment of an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) as trustee or liquidator is appropriate after considering the guidance given in Technical Manual Chapter 17, paragraph 17.3 unless meetings are properly requisitioned (see Case Help Manual part: Meetings - Requisitioned Meetings. First meetings are not routinely held with a view to providing a forum for debate as to the causes of the bankrupt's or company's failure or to discuss any other aspects of a particular case.

3. What is a contributories’ meeting?

In a company case, there are two meetings which need to be held, a creditor’s meeting and a meeting of contributories . A contributory is a person who is liable to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of a winding up.  Contributories should be recorded on ISCIS (‘Creditors’ tab), the creditor type should be recorded as either ‘Miscellaneous’ or ‘Company Director’.   In most cases with which the official receiver deals, contributories will be the shareholders. 

Both of these meetings should be recorded on ISIS under the ‘Creditors’ tab (‘Record Meetings’ screen).  The ‘Record IP Appointment Decision’ screen should be updated prior to any meeting details being entered on the ‘Record Meetings’ screen.  Throughout this part the two meetings will be referred to as ‘the meeting’ except where a contributories’ meeting requires a different action, in which case it will be specified.  

4. In which cases does the official receiver have to decide whether to hold a first meeting?

The official receiver has to decide whether or not to hold a first meeting of creditors in all cases except where the court has appointed a trustee or liquidator other than the official receiver at the hearing of the petition i.e. where the court has appointed the supervisor of a voluntary arrangement as trustee or liquidator. 

5. How long has the official receiver got to decide?

The official receiver is required by the Insolvency Act 1986 to decide whether to call a meeting within 12 weeks of the order. Meetings must be held within 4 months of the order. For cases where the petition was presented on or after 6 April 2010 at least 14 days notice of the meeting is required. In cases where the petition was presented before 6 April 2010 at least 21 days notice is required.

6. What if the time limits are missed?

If it appears that the time limits will not be able to be met, an application must be made to the court for an extension of time before the 4 month statutory time period expires.  

7. What if a meeting is not called?

The official receiver must give notice of his/her decision not to summon first meetings to the court and all known creditors and, in a liquidation, to the contributories. The notice must be given within 12 weeks beginning with the day of the winding-up or bankruptcy order using form NNM (Notice of No Meeting).  The decision should be recorded on the ‘Creditors’ tab under the ‘Record IP Appointment Decision’ screen.

For further information see Case Help Manual part: No First Meeting.

8. What if the case is not in the local court yet?

This should not hold up the sending of notices of the meetings decision. If the case is in the process of being transferred to a local court, only notice to the court of the official receiver’s decision (where required) should be held back.

9. Who receives notice of first meetings?

(Amended November 2012)

In cases where the petition is presented on or after 6 April 2010 first meeting notices must be sent to all known creditors and contributories, the bankrupt and appropriate company personnel. In cases where the petition was presented before the 6 April 2010 the notice must also be sent to the court.

The official receiver in all company and bankruptcy cases where the date of presentation of the petition is on or after 6 April 2009 is required to publish a notice of the meeting in the London Gazette.  There is currently no gazette notice available within ISCIS ‘Doc’ tab.  If a gazette notice is required then it should be drafted in word format detailing the exact wording required.  A template is available for this purpose HERE. Once drafted this document should be emailed to london.gazette@tso.co.uk. The email should indicate which official receivers office the request came from and  subject line should contain the appropriate account number:

  • OR offices – 931009058
  • From NDU – 931009056
  • From PIU Manchester – 931009052 (PL work only)
  • From PIU London – 9310090054 (PL work only)

A note should be made on ISCIS (‘Notes’ tab> General Administration> ‘other’) to record the acknowledgement from The London Gazette and any reference number given.  The official receiver may also advertise the matter in such other manner as he or she thinks fit.  Any decision to advertise should be recorded on ISCIS (‘Notes’ tab> General Administration> ‘Gazetting and Advertising’).

The Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2010 has specified the content of these notices. For further information please see the CHM: Publication of Insolvency Information.

For further details see Case Help Manual part: Calling a Meeting.

10. Electronic delivery of meeting notices and use of websites

The Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2010 introduced provisions which permit the official receiver to send notices by electronic means, provided that the intended recipient has consented to electronic delivery and has provided an electronic address for delivery. Where the official receiver issues a notice by electronic means, the document must advise the recipient that they may request a hard copy and provide a telephone number, email address and postal address for making such a request. Where a hard copy of the notice is requested, it must be sent within 5 business days of receipt of the request.

The official receiver may also satisfy his or her requirement to give a notice by making it available for viewing or downloading on a website. The official receiver is required to notify creditors of the address of the website together with any password required. As with electronic delivery above, the notice given to creditors must also inform the recipient of their entitlement to request a hard copy.

Guidance on the use of electronic delivery and websites by the official receiver is being developed.

11. Who can attend the meeting of creditors?

Only creditors or their proxy holders are legally entitled to attend the creditors meeting, but others may be admitted if the chairman considers they have information which may be useful.

The bankrupt or company personnel attend only if the official receiver tells them that they are required to do so. 

12. Where is the meeting held?

Meetings are generally held at the official receiver’s office. However, the Insolvency Amended Rules 2010 has introduced provisions that allow the official receiver to hold meetings remotely. This may be done for example via the use of a telephone conference system or by accessing a web-based forum. Details of the arrangements must be given in the meetings notices.

13. What is a ‘proxy holder’?

Generally, a proxy holder is a person whom a creditor or contributory has authorised to attend the meeting to speak and vote as his/her representative.  Proxy holders details should be recorded on ISCIS (‘Creditors’ tab) against the relevant creditor entry.  It is important that all proxy holders are recorded on ISCIS prior to a meeting and checks should be made to ensure that none have been overlooked.  Any creditors or proxy holders not recorded on ISCIS prior to the meeting will not show up on the PAL form (ISCIS ‘Docs’ tab).

For further information see Case Help Manual part: Proofs and Proxies.

14. Can creditors put questions to the bankrupt/company director?

In most cases the bankrupt or director will not be in the room for the meeting. The chairman may allow questions, but these should relate to the purpose of the meeting and would usually be about the location and value of assets.

Where can I find out more?

Insolvency Rules 1986 as amended by Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2010:

Rule 4.3 - Extension of time in liquidations

Rule 4.54 and 6.81 - Official Receivers power to call meetings at any time

Rule 12A - The giving of notice and the supply of documents

Insolvency Act 1986:

Sections 136(4)-(6) - Duty of Official Receiver to decide whether to call meetings - liquidation

Sections 293 – 294 - Duty of Official Receiver to decide whether to call meeting - bankruptcy

Sections 140 and 297 - Where a Trustee or Liquidator appointed on making of order

Section 376 - Extension of time in bankruptcies

Technical Manual

Chapter 5 - Publication of Insolvency Information

Chapter 16 - Meetings

Chapter 17- Appointment of Liquidators and Trustees, part 1 paragraph 17.3

Case Help Manual

Calling a Meeting

No first Meeting

Proofs and Proxies 

Publication of insolvency information

Insolvency Service Publication: A Guide for Creditors

ISCIS Guidance

Case Instructions & Notes

Creditors – Assigned debts, Charge-holders and Proxies

These are available on the ORBS intranet pages by clicking HERE