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Modernisation and Streamlining of Insolvency Procedures - Consultation Document

As revealed in Insolvency reform - Bank Law Blog, the Insolvency Service has issued a consultation paper setting out its proposals to modernise and streamline the law governing insolvency procedure.

The broad aims are to bring insolvency law up to date with our current ability to communicate electronically, to move some decision-making process to insolvency practitioners and to remove some unnecessary burdens from insolvency practitioners. Replies to the consultation must be with the Insolvency Service by 10 December 2007.

The document's full title is:
"A consultation document on changes to the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to be made by a Legislative Reform Order for the modernisation and streamlining of insolvency procedures".
It is:
 "A Consultation Paper issued by The Insolvency Service on behalf of the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs"
and it is available for download (from the Insolvency Service website) here.

There are eight proposals, detailed below:

1. To modernise and make more flexible the means of communication, and the exchange of information, between insolvency office-holders and creditors (and others who send or receive information) in insolvency cases by:
1.Introducing a provision requiring creditors to “opt-in” if they wish to receive information issued by the insolvency office-holder during the conduct of the proceedings and/or who wish to participate in the insolvency process.
2.Updating insolvency legislation to make it explicit that communication can be effected electronically where the legislation requires it to be “in writing”.
3.Enabling insolvency office-holders to provide information by sending a link to a website on which information is posted.
4.Providing a legislative framework that will allow insolvency office-holders to hold meetings required to be held as part of their conduct of insolvency cases through media other than meetings held at a physical venue.
2. To remove a requirement that is imposed upon liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy requiring them to obtain sanction for certain actions they propose to take as part of their conduct of the case.

3. Moving to allow discretionary advertising of the appointment of a voluntary liquidator and to remove restrictions on the form any such advertisement can take.

4. Removing a requirement imposed upon liquidators to summon annual meetings of members and/or creditors for the purpose of laying an account of their acts and dealings and of the conduct of the winding up during the preceding year.

5. Removing the requirement for any document in insolvency proceedings to be sworn by affidavit and to replace it with a less burdensome requirement for such documents to be verified by a statement of truth in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

6. To remove the requirement for an insolvency practitioner, acting as liquidator, to submit a report to the Secretary of State on the conduct of the directors of a company if he has already submitted such a report as administrator of the same company.

7. To remove a requirement that exists for the Insolvency Services Account (“ISA”) kept by the Secretary of State to be held with the Bank of England.

8. To remove the power of the court to order that a person owing monies to a company in liquidation pay those monies into an account, in the liquidator’s name, at the Bank of England.

As an IP, I have to say that on first reading the proposals make good sense.

Comment below, or respond directly to the Insolvency Service on Annex B of the document.



Date: 27th September, 2007
Author: Chris Laughton


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