What is the Single County Court?

The 173 local County Courts were amalgamated on 22 April 2014 into one single County Court with 173 hearing centres. The hearing centres are referred to as The County Court at, for example, Kingston upon Hull.


What effect will the creation of the Single County Court have on the work of the official receiver?

The official receiver should see little change in dealing with the Single County Court. Petitions and hearings will be presented at or heard by the hearing centre. The official receiver should take care to ensure that any applications made and/or documents submitted by him/her are correctly titled, for example, The County Court at Sheffield.


What are the Civil Procedure Rules?

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) were introduced to ensure the civil justice system is accessible, fair and efficient. As a result the rules are written in plain English and presented in a logical manner. The CPR are supplemented by practice directions which provide practical guidance on complying with the Rules. Practice directions are approved by the Chancellor of the High Court and have the force of law.


What is case management under the CPR?

On the issue of a summons the court will decide on which “track” to allocate the case. Currently the three tracks are, the small claims track (less than £10,000), fast track (£10,000 to £25,000) and the multi-track (all other claims). All insolvency proceedings, for example disqualification proceedings, should be allocated to the multi-track.  


Does the CPR apply to insolvencies?

The CPR do not apply to the majority of insolvency proceedings as they are covered by Part 7 of the Insolvency Rules 1986. The CPR do apply to the application for an administration order, the presentation of a winding-up or bankruptcy petition, some antecedent recoveries, restoration of a company to the register and disqualification proceedings.


How do I make an application to court within the insolvency proceedings?

All applications must be in writing on Form 7.1A. A number of local hearing centres will accept electronic delivery of claim forms and documents. The official receiver should contact their local hearing centres to obtain confirmation that such delivery is acceptable. Detailed guidance on completing the form is contained in Part 4.


How do I make an application outside the insolvency proceedings under the CPR?

Such an application should be made under Part 7 (if it is likely to be contested) or Part 8 (if it is likely to be uncontested) of the CPR. The official receiver should use Form N1 (see paragraph 19.56) for Part 7 proceedings and Form N208 (see paragraph 19.55) for Part 8 proceedings. Company restoration applications are made under Part 8 and further information can be found in Chapter 38 and Case Help Manual – Company Restoration. Detailed guidance on issuing a Part 7 claim can be found in Part 5.


What should accompany an application to court?

The official receiver will submit evidence in support of an application to court by report in insolvency proceedings. Outside insolvency proceedings the official receiver will submit his/her evidence by witness statement verified by a statement of truth. In pre 6 April 2010 insolvencies the official receiver’s evidence must be submitted by affidavit.


What should the official receiver’s evidence to court contain?

The official receiver should exercise a high degree of care in ensuring the evidence is based on facts obtained during the course of his/her enquiries and not mislead the court. Any opinion contained in his/her report should be clearly identified as an opinion. Evidence provided by witness statement has to be verified by a statement of truth. Proceedings may be brought against the official receiver for contempt of court if he/she makes a false statement without an honest belief in its truth. Further information on preparing evidence for an application is contained in Part 6.


What legislation covers the service of court documents?

Within insolvency proceedings the service of documents is covered by the Insolvency Rules 1986. The service of documents outside insolvency proceedings is covered by the CPR.


How can court documents be served?

Depending upon the circumstances court documents may be served personally, by first class post by DX or other service which guarantees next day service, electronically or any alternative method approved by the court. A Certificate of Service must be prepared if required by the Insolvency Rules 1986 or CPR. Further guidance on how to serve claim forms and documents is contained in Part 8.


Are there statutory time limits for filing documents in court?

The Insolvency Rules 1986 and CPR impose time limits for filing documents in court. The Court may also impose time limits for the receipt of evidence, documents or defences. The official receiver should adhere to any statutory or court ordered time limits. Where the official receiver is unable to comply with the time limits he/she should make an application for an extension. Part 9 contains further information on time limits.


When would the official receiver apply to the court?

The official receiver may apply to the court for an income payments order, for a suspension of discharge, to commit a person to prison for contempt, for an injunction, or for directions. The hearing may take place before a judge or registrar and in public or in chambers.


What happens if I receive a witness summons?

The witness summons requires the official receiver to produce documents to court or attend a hearing. The official receiver should contact the solicitors issuing the summons to clarify what information is required to try and achieve a satisfactory outcome which may result in the witness summons being withdrawn. The official receiver may apply to have the witness summons withdrawn if:

  • it will be burdensome or harsh for the official receiver to comply with;
  • it represents a "fishing expedition in the general hope that something will turn up to assist his/her case;
  • it fails to give adequate details of the documents required;
  • the documents are confidential and should not be produced; or
  • the documents are not in the official receiver’s possession or control.



What happens when I attend court to give evidence?

The official receiver should attend court at the time, date and place specified in the witness summons. He/she should take all relevant papers with him/her to court. The official receiver should answer the questions asked and speak slowly and clearly. The answers should be addressed to the judge and not the person asking the questions. The official receiver requires the permission of the judge to refer to papers whilst in the witness box. Further guidance on acting as a witness is contained in Part 11.


Can the official receiver inspect the court file?

The official receiver or the Secretary of State has the right to inspect the court file. The official receiver should copy any documents required without removing them from the file, which should be returned to the court promptly.