Notices to be issued and actions to be taken immediately

Part 4 Notices to be issued and actions to be taken immediately

October 2011 

3.44 Introduction

The following paragraphs cover the actions the official should take together with what notices should be issued either immediately, or within 24 hours, upon receiving notification of a winding-up order.


3.45 Notice to the official receiver of a winding-up order

The court is required to give notice forthwith to the official receiver on the making of a winding-up order [Note 1].


3.46 High Court and District Registries

The above courts provide the Petitions and Transfers Team with a list showing the result of the hearings of winding-up petitions. Where a winding-up order is made the Secretary of State appoints the appropriate official receiver as official receiver for the insolvency proceedings [Note 2]. The Petitions and Transfers Team notify the local official receiver of the order and enclose a copy of the official receiver’s appointment by the Secretary of State.


3.47 Other County Courts

Official receivers should monitor the progress of petitions in their local courts. By following the progress of each petition it can be ensured that timely notice of the making of a winding-up order is received.


3.48 Receipt of a notice of a winding-up order

Notice of a winding-up order from either the Petitions and Transfers Team or the local court provides sufficient authority for the official receiver to proceed until he/she receives copies of the actual winding-up order (see paragraph 3.17). The notice allows the official receiver to carry out his/her statutory functions such as advertising and Gazetting the order (see paragraph 3.66).


3.49 Correct title to be used on notices and correspondence

Once the official receiver is satisfied that the details of the company on the winding-up order are correct he/she should use the correct title on all notices and correspondence (see paragraph 3.31).


3.50 Contacting the petitioning creditor’s solicitors

On receiving notice of the winding-up order the petitioning creditors solicitors should be asked, initially by telephone, whether there are any matters, other than those referred to in the petition, to which the official receivers attention should be drawn. The standard letter (PSOL) should be sent out to the petitioners solicitors as part of the initial notices.


3.51 Petitioning creditor’s solicitors: copy of the petition, etc

The solicitors should also be asked to provide, without charge, a spare copy of the petition (except in High Court cases where the court provides a spare copy) and supporting affidavits or witness statements. They should also be asked to confirm whether the petitioner is registered for VAT. Further details on the provision of information by HM Revenue and Customs can be found in paragraphs 47.79(b), (c) and (d).


3.52  Petitioning creditor’s solicitors: information about the company

The petitioning creditor’s solicitors may be able to provide information on : -

  • whether the company is continuing to trade,
  • the companys solicitors or accountants,
  • the names of the companys officers or any staff such as managers with whom they or their clients dealt,
  • if contact with the company officers has been made,
  • whether they have had other contact with the company recently, 
  • how any recent contact was made,
  • the trading address, the petitioner may have supplied goods to this address if a trade creditor,
  • any possible assets,
  • any bank accounts,
  • any other known creditors,
  • the trading activities of the company, and
  • any previous insolvency proceedings such as voluntary liquidation.


3.53 Petitioning creditor’s solicitors: further information

If the petitioning creditor’s solicitors only provide limited details about the company, they may be able to direct us to a person at their client who could provide additional information.


3.54 Experian Company Gold Report searches

The official receiver should, in the first instance, carry out a search using the facilities provided by Experian in order to establish details of the company and its officers. The Experian Ltd Company Gold Report search can provide information about the company such as address details, principal activities, number of employees, judgments against the company, previous searches, credit rating, risk score, payment performance and directorship information, which, in addition to providing the contact details of current and former company officers, may assist the official receiver in establishing the financial position of the company and lead to further avenues of enquiry.  The cost of this search is £7 and is paid from the administration fee, rather than being charged as a separate cost on the estate.


3.55 Experian Citizen View searches

The official receiver may make use of  Experian CitizenView which provides information relating to individuals (such as, address history, telephone numbers and voters’ roll information). This information may help trace non-surrender or absent directors. The cost of this search is £1.60 and is paid from the administration fee, rather than being charged as a separate cost on the estate.


3.56 Experian searches – further information

Access to Experian’s search facilities are available via a digital certificate which has been issued to a limited number of staff in each office. These certificates are attached to an individual staff member’s login and can be accessed from any computer workstation. Further information regarding the use of Experian searches can be found in the Official Receivers’ Business Support section of the Centralised Activities Directorate intranet page under Case Guidance and can be seen here.


3.57 Initial enquiries – generally

The official receiver should attempt to contact those persons having knowledge of the company’s affairs, usually, but not exclusively, the officers of the company. If possible this contact should be made within 24 hours of the office receiving notification of the order, if not it must be made within 48 hours. If the Experian search and other enquiries do not provide the required information regarding the company officers see paragraph 3.83.


3.58 Initial enquiries – information to be obtained

The purpose of the official receiver’s initial enquiries is to:

  • establish whether there is any continued trading activity and the nature of the assets;
  • to preserve the estate, which includes ensuring that assets are adequately insured, disposing of perishable or other goods likely to fall in value and protecting the estate from possible third party claims where the public could be at risk; and
  • to decide at an early a stage as possible whether investigation work is needed.
  • to locate, safeguard and collect books and records relating to the company’s affairs.


3.59 Inspection

In the initial period after the making of a winding-up order the official receiver should decide whether an inspection is required. Paragraph 8.9 details the circumstances in which an inspection should be carried out. For further information relating to inspections generally see Chapter 8.


3.60 A trading company

Where the official receiver’s enquiries establish the company is continuing to trade immediate action should be taken. The official receiver will need to decide whether the business of the company should be continued. To reach this decision the official receiver should refer to Chapter 62 as well as Chapter 2. In most cases the official receiver will cause the company to cease trading and notify the employees that a winding-up order has been made and what its effects are. Further information on the effects of a winding-up order are contained in Chapter 76 Part 2 and Chapter 8.


3.61 Re-direction of the company’s post

The official receiver should instruct Royal Mail to re-direct the mail addressed to the company to him/her. Initially the re-direction should be for a three month period. A separate request must be made for every address (e.g. both the registered office and any trading addresses) together with a separate one for any trading name at each address.


3.62 Re-direction – consent of administrative receivers and liquidators

Where an administrative receiver or liquidator is in office the official receiver should ask whether he/she has any objections to an order re-directing the company’s post. The official receiver should not proceed unless the administrative receiver or liquidator agrees to the re-direction. If the administrative receiver or liquidator subsequently agrees to the re-direction and the official receiver’s enquiries are still in their early stages an application to re-direct the post should be made.


3.63 Application for postal re-direction

The Royal Mail’s re-direction form or ISCIS word template form REDLPO-COY should be sent directly to The Royal Mail Redirection Centre, Trent House, Media Way, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5ST. Royal Mail will invoice the Insolvency Service directly and redirection cost is covered by the Administration Fee.


3.64 Application for postal re-direction – multiple occupancy premises

Due to operational problems and cost Royal Mail operate a policy of not re-directing post from multiple occupancy premises or addresses which share the same delivery point for a number of companies, for example, an accountancy firm or solicitor’s office. If the official receiver is in any doubt about whether the premises are multi-occupancy he/she should check with the Royal Mail Redirection Centre, telephone 08457-777888. 


3.65 Royal Mail re-direction service

Where a re-direction of a company’s post is not possible due to multiple occupancy Royal Mail offer an alternative ‘diversion’ service. This operates in a similar way to re-direction but currently has no restriction on diverting mail from multiple occupancy premises. This service currently costs £305 per year and is only available in this annual option. Details of this service can be found here. This service should only be used in exceptional circumstances.


3.66 Publishing the order in the London Gazette

On the making of a winding-up order the official receiver is required to publish notice of the order in the "London Gazette" (more commonly referred to as the Gazette). Publication in the Gazette is usually carried out centrally, following an automatic instruction instigated by the creation of a case (see paragraph 5.12). If the order of the court is varied or a mistake has been made it is the responsibility of the official receiver to ensure the varied order is published in the Gazette (see paragraph 5.14).


3.67 Advertising the order more generally

Where the petition was presented on or after 6 April 2009, the official receiver may (in addition to publication in the London Gazette) advertise the order in such manner as he/she thinks fit. The official receiver does not have to further advertise the order if he/she does not  believe it is necessary.  See Chapter 5, Part 3 for guidance on exercising this discretion [Note 3]. Where the petition was presented prior to 6 April 2009, the public advertisement (usually, in a newspaper) is mandatory (see paragraph 5.1 Chapter 5 and Annex 1 Part 2)

Further general information on procedures required to advertise the order in the Gazette and/or more widely are contained in Chapter 5.


3.68 Stay of advertisement or stay of proceedings

Where an application for a stay of advertisement or stay of proceedings is granted, reference should be made to Chapter 5, paragraph 5.22 and Chapter 6, Part 2 and Part 5.


3.69 Service of the winding-up order

The court should send three sealed copies of the winding-up order to the official receiver. On receipt of the orders the official receiver must serve a sealed copy of the order on the company by first class post. The order can be served at the company’s registered office (if any) or at its principal place of business.


3.70 Notice to the local court - High Court and District Registry cases

The company may be a party to legal proceedings that the official receiver is unaware of. He/she should consider sending a form NORD1 to the local county court where the winding-up order is made in the High Court or one of the District registries. The notice should be sent within 24 hours of the making of the order by first class post, DX, fax and/or e-mail.


3.71 Notice to the court and other parties - legal proceedings pending

Where, at the date of the winding-up order, the company is known to be a party to legal proceedings other than the winding-up proceedings, the official receiver should notify the court(s) and other parties as a matter of urgency (case numbers or other court references should quoted, if known) using the form NORD1, amended as appropriate (see paragraph 3.72).  The notice should be sent to the court(s) by recorded delivery within 24 hours of the making of the order, or a faster method such as fax, e-mail or DX, if a more urgent delivery is required.


3.72 Contents of the notice to court - legal proceedings pending

The notice should draw the attention of the court to the provisions of section 130(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986. This section states that where a winding - up order has been made no action or proceeding shall be proceeded with against the company, or its property, except by leave of the court and subject to such terms as the court may impose. On receiving notice the court may dismiss, stay or adjourn such proceedings. The court should be made aware of the legal effects of the winding-up order, particularly with regard to any assets which form part of the estate. The official receiver is responsible for dealing with, or protecting, these assets pending the possible appointment of another liquidator.


3.73 Execution - High Court Enforcement Officers

Since 1 April 2004 High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO) are not bound by any geographical restrictions and individual officers can choose to act in any area. As a consequence there is no certainty about which HCEO will hold a High Court writ of execution [Note 4]. Judgment creditors can request that a particular enforcement officer is appointed in the execution of a writ, or writs may be allocated for execution on a rota basis to those enforcement officers who have chosen to act in the relevant area.


3.74 High Court Enforcement Officers – data base

A database is kept of the allocation of work to HCEOs by Registry Trust Limited and is called NICEsheriffs.  Registry Trust Limited obtains information about liquidations electronically from the Gazette. The official receiver does not have to send paper notices of a winding up to the company. The contact details of Registry Trust are shown in Annex 2. Individual details of enforcement officers can be obtained here under the members tab.


3.75 Notice to High Court Enforcement Officers – petition pre 6 April 2010

For cases where the winding up commenced before 6 April 2010 the official receiver should deliver by hand, or by recorded delivery, written notice of the making of a winding-up order to the appropriate HCEO in order that goods and/or money will be secured for the company estate [Note 5]. In practice, HCEOs generally accept the electronic notification to NICEsheriffs as sufficient. If an individual enforcement officer requires notice in writing, (for example, if he/she has taken goods in execution) [Note 6] Registry Trust Limited will request the official receiver to send a notice complying with the rules to the HCEO acting in the execution. The official receiver should send ISCIS word template form NTSH after receiving such a request.


3.76 Notice to High Court Enforcement Officers – petition post 6 April 2010

Where the winding-up petition was presented on or after 6 April 2010 the Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2010 permit notice of the winding up to be given to the enforcement officer by means of delivery other than by hand or recorded delivery. The alternative means of delivery must, however allow proof of receipt of the document at the relevant address. This specifically includes giving notice by electronic means to any person who has been authorised to receive such notice on behalf of a specified enforcement officer or on behalf of enforcement officers generally [Note 7]. The official receiver, in these cases, is not required to send notice to the HCEO in order to secure any company assets seized. 


3.77 Executions - County courts

The District Judge of the county court for all areas in which the company is known to have carried on business in the previous six months should be sent the ISCIS word template form NTSH which includes a blank schedule of executions levied.  The schedule should be completed by the court to show whether any goods or monies have been seized on behalf of a judgment creditor over which the official receiver may have a claim (see Chapter 9 Part 2 for further information).


3.78 Immediate notice of the winding-up order

The official receiver should give immediate notice of the winding-up order to any relevant Insolvency Practitioner (see paragraph 3.79), trade supplier (see paragraph 3.80) and charge-holder (see paragraph 3.81). The notice should be initially made by telephone and followed up  by first class mail or any alternative which is either faster, or more cost effective, for example by fax, e-mail or DX. The notice should include any references where available. If the notice cannot be given within 24 hours of the making of the order it should be made as soon as possible thereafter. 


3.79 Notice to an appointed/previously appointed insolvency practitioner

The official receiver should give notice of the winding-up order to any voluntary liquidator (ISCIS word template form NTVL), administrator (ISCIS word template form ADMLTR), administrative receiver (ISCIS word template form ADMREC) or supervisor of any company voluntary arrangement (ISCIS word template form LSUPAD).


3.80 Notice to trade suppliers

The official receiver should send notice (form NORD1) to any potential supplier of goods to the company in order to stop delivery.


3.81 Notice to charge-holders

The official receiver should send notice (ISCIS word template form NLC) to any holder of a fixed or floating charge over the company’s property.


3.82 Notices to be issued within 24 hours, or shortly after, of the order 

After making his/her initial telephone enquiries the official receiver may be able to send notice of the winding-up order to a limited number of people, such as the company’s accountants and solicitors, local courts, etc. Once additional information has been obtained, for example after interviewing the director(s) or from third parties, the official receiver should be in a position to send out further notices of the order. The type of companies, people and organisations that notices should be sent to are shown in Part 7 (Common notices of the winding-up order issued) and Part 8 (Less common notices of the winding-up order issued).



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