Inspection and disclosure of court file

November 2010  

47.67 The court file

The court must open and maintain a file in any case where documents are filed with it under the Act or the Rules. [Note 1] Any documents which are filed with the court under the Act or Rules must be placed on the court file. [Note 2]


47.67(a) Right to inspect the court file

The following persons may inspect or obtain from the court a copy of, or a copy of any document or documents contained in, the court file [Note 3] [Note 4]: 

  1. the office-holder in the proceedings;
  2. the Secretary of State; 
  3. any person who is a creditor of the company or the individual to which the proceedings relate if that person provides the court with a statement in writing confirming that they are a creditor;
  4. an officer or former officer of a company to which the proceedings relate; or a member of the company or a contributory in its winding up (in any proceedings under Parts I to VII of the Act);
  5. the bankrupt; any person against whom a bankruptcy petition has been presented, and any person who has, in accordance with Chapter 1 of Part 6 of the Rules, been served with a statutory demand;
  6. a debtor who has proposed a voluntary arrangement; and
  7. a debtor in proceedings relating to a debt relief order. 


47.67(b) Authority and permission to inspect court file

Any person who has the right of inspection may authorise another person to inspect the court file on his/her behalf [Note 5]. Additionally any person who is not otherwise entitled to inspect the court file, may do so, with the permission of the court [Note 6].Where permission of the court is required an application notice must be filed with the court [Note 7].

The court may also direct that the court file, documents, or parts of documents must not be made available to any person without the permission of the court [Note 8]. The official receiver, the office-holder in the proceedings or any party appearing to the court to have an interest, may apply for such a direction [Note 9].

An application for permission to inspect the file or an application for a direction may be made without notice to any other party, but the court may direct that notice must be given to any person who would be affected by its decision [Note 10].


47.67(c) Official receiver and Secretary of State – right to request file

Provided it is for the purpose of powers conferred by the Act or the Rules, the official receiver and the Secretary of State have a right to request the transmission of the court file to them, unless for the time being the file is in use for the court’s own purposes [Note 11]. The official receiver should ensure that the court file is reviewed promptly on receipt and returned to the court immediately thereafter.  

For further information see also Chapter 19 – Court practice and procedure part 8.

47.68 Copies of documents

Any person having a right to inspect the court file may also exercise the right to obtain a copy of a document from the file, on payment of any prescribed fee and accompanied by a written request for the document. If permission of the court is required, an application notice must also be filed [Note 12] [Note 13].

If the official receiver takes copies of documents on the file while it is in his/her possession, he/she must ensure that original documents are not removed from the file for that purpose.


47.69 Production of court file in proceedings

The production of the court file in either criminal or civil proceedings is a matter for the court but, for the sake of convenience, and on the specific request of the court, the file may be produced by a member of The Insolvency Service who is to give evidence (which will normally be the examiner dealing with the case).


47.70 Official receiver’s report to creditors

The official receiver should not produce his/her report to creditors (made under chapter 7 of Part 4 or chapter 6 of Part 6 of the Rules) to any person, except in accordance with the Rules (i.e. to creditors, contributories, the liquidator or the trustee) [Note 14] [Note 15].

With effect from 6 April 2010, the official receiver is no longer required to file a copy of the report to creditors in court in any case [Note 16]. With this in mind, a company officer or a bankrupt cannot now obtain a copy of the report through his/her right to inspect the court file and to take copies of documents on it. A policy decision has therefore been made that the official receiver may provide a company officer or a bankrupt with a copy of the report to creditors upon request, but he/she must be satisfied as to the identity of the individual making the request . In these circumstances it would be sufficient to ensure that the requested report is sent to the address of the company officer or bankrupt known to the official receiver. See also Chapter 18, paragraph 18.15.


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