Vacancies in office

September 2006

17.69 Official receiver the liquidator or trustee in a vacancy

The official receiver will become trustee or liquidator in the event of any vacancy in office (e.g. after an insolvency practitioner’s release or death) [note 1]. A ‘vacancy’ includes cases where it is necessary to revive the trusteeship of a bankrupt’s estate after the holding of a final meeting [note 2] or the giving by the official receiver of a (release) notice [note 3] . Information on vacation of office, release of liquidators and trustees other than the official receiver and removal of liquidators and trustees can be found in Chapter 48 - Vacation of office and release of liquidators and trustees (other than the official receiver).

If there are sufficient assets remaining to merit the appointment of another insolvency practitioner, the official receiver should take immediate steps, normally by applying to the Secretary of State (see Part 5) to bring about such an appointment. Where an insolvency practitioner has died or resigned for health reasons, it will often be convenient for one of his/her former partners to be appointed in his/her place to secure continuity and minimise expense.

17.70 Bankruptcy cases

In a bankruptcy the official receiver must, at the end of 28 days beginning with the date on which the vacancy first came to his/her attention [note 4], refer the need for an appointment to the Secretary of State, unless he/she intends to hold a meeting or has already applied to the Secretary of State for an appointment [note 5].

If the assets are insufficient to warrant an appointment, the official receiver will remain as trustee [note 6]. Although the official receiver is still required to refer the need for an appointment to the Secretary of State [note 4], it is not practical for him/her to do so and he/she need make no such application. Failure to refer the need for an appointment to the Secretary of State will not undermine the official receiver’s ability to deal with an asset or invalidate any of his/her actions.

If at a later date the official receiver finds that an appointment is appropriate, he/she may apply to the Secretary of State, at any time when he/she is acting as trustee, for the appointment of a trustee to replace him/her (see Part 5).


[Back to Part 5 - Appointments by the Secretary of State] [On to Part 7 - Handovers]