Recovery & Insolvency
Our business recovery & insolvency team can guide companies and individuals through every step of a recovery or a well managed insolvency.
We work with leading insolvency practitioners across the full spectrum of insolvency scenarios.
Where possible, we aim to help our clients overcome their financial difficulties.
We will work with businesses, individuals and other professionals such as banks and accountants to help this happen. When insolvency or bankruptcy is the only option, our task is to be on our clients’ side to help them fulfil their duties and reduce their exposure to any risks that may arise.
Our expertise spans both commercial and personal insolvency situations and we regularly act for businesses and their directors, insolvency practitioners and individuals:
With businesses facing some of the toughest trading conditions in more than a generation and with the future economic outlook looking far from certain, many companies are struggling. Business owners and senior management are often trying to hold businesses together with reduced resources and increasing numbers of debtors. Cash flows are being squeezed and banks are not always able to help ease the burden. How do you protect your business and continue trading?
Helping your business out of difficulties is the ideal solution. We work closely with other professionals such as banks and accountants in the journey. Taking action as early as possible is more likely to result in a successful outcome. We will take time to understand your business, examine the risks and work together to bring your business back to healthy trading. Our business recovery specialists will work with you, your bank and your accountants to achieve a workable solution. We will make sure you understand each stage of the business restructuring process and make recommendations that suit you and your business. We’ll help with obtaining corporate finance and make sure your office holders understand the restructuring process and how it will impact them.
We also regularly advise lenders on their security exposure, rights and obligations and exit strategies including in contentious situations and on asset disposals. Our lender expertise is based on long standing panel relationships and appointments with several UK and International banks and finance houses.
We recognise the complexity, time and costs pressures faced by Insolvency Practitioners in their work.
We work closely with Insolvency Practioners in various types of businesses or personal situations. Our team offers a wide range of specialist skills which in insolvency, corporate services, commercial banking, employment, construction, intellectual property and commercial property.
We support our clients with our specialist knowledge advising Insolvency Practitioners in their capacity as Liquidators, Administrators, Receivers or Trustees in Bankruptcy to maximise the potential for a successful recovery for the estate.
In the current economic climate many people are finding it hard to make ends meet each month. Bankruptcy may be a daunting prospect, but it could be the only solution if all other options have been exhausted. If bankruptcy is the only realistic path we will make sure you understand each stage of the process. Whatever option suits your circumstances best we will provide you with tailored, compassionate and pragmatic advice to help you get back on your feet.
Your personal affairs and finances are unique to you. We will take the time to study your situation and explore your options. In many cases you will have choices and we can help you explore alternatives such as Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA’s), referring you to someone in our network of Insolvency Practitioners if appropriate, or act on your behalf in negotiating with your creditors.
We also have significant experience acting for Trustees in Bankruptcy in personal bankruptcy situations to advise on asset recoveries, sales, disposals and other disputes against insolvent individuals.
Acting for insolvency practitioners as Administrators and Liquidators, creditors, debtors, companies in financial difficulties and financial institutions asserting or facing potential claims:
Asset recovery advice including investigations
Acting on contested insolvency applications
Applications to clawback payments
Applications to recover and set aside antecedent transactions
Claims against directors
Advising directors on their duties in insolvent situations including disclosure obligations
Realising assets, including real estate and intellectual property
Claims for breach of duty and negligence
Complex cross-border disputes and restructurings
Fraud and asset tracing
IP litigation, protection and enforcement
Contentious family/divorce situations
Asset acquisitions and disposals
Realising assets, including real estate and intellectual property
Advising on Receiverships – Fixed Charge and LPA
Dealing with pension trustee work , including sleep-in liability
Advice on the best process, including formal insolvency procedures
Working with IPs, secured creditors, investors and corporates to achieve a constructive insolvency
Applications to recover and to set aside antecedent transactions
Settling finance and pensions issues
Dealing with staff issues, including complex redundancies and layoffs
Company voluntary arrangements (CVA)
Individual voluntary arrangements (IVA)
Advising Landlord and Tenants
Our connections with Funders and Insurers offers clients a competitive edge in the litigation arena where the costs of pursuing claims to trial are prohibitively expensive. Our connections enable clients to unlock claims which they might otherwise find difficult to bring, or where they need to prioritise the structure of their own finances to the benefit of their business interests rather than the litigation.
Learn more about our litigation funding here.
With many global clients, a significant amount of RWK Goodman’s work is international. We regularly work for private individuals, businesses and insolvency professionals to meet their legal requirements around the world.
We are proud to be founding and active members of Interleges, a leading international association of law firms. This enables our firm to provide legal services across global frontiers and ensure our clients are supported in key jurisdictions. Through Interleges, both business organisations and individuals have access to specialist lawyers who have experience in representing clients from different countries.
Starting Insolvency proceedings
Whether you are looking to start insolvency proceedings or have received a statutory demand, this is the essential information you need to know.
If you want legal advice on insolvency proceedings, please contact our specialist team.
Find out more about starting insolvency proceedings in our guide below:
A statutory demand is a written demand for payment of a debt and is often used as a precursor to commencing insolvency proceedings.
A creditor may serve a statutory demand on either an individual or a company (known as a debtor), where there is an undisputed and unsecured outstanding sum of money, such as an invoice, for which they have not been paid.
A creditor can serve a statutory demand on an individual where the debt outstanding is for £5,000 or more. In comparison, a creditor can serve a statutory demand on a company where the debt outstanding is for £750 or more.
When drafting a statutory demand, it is vital that it complies with legal requirements and contains complete details relating to the outstanding debt.
Unlike a claim form, a statutory demand is not a court document. Therefore it has its own rules for service.
Generally, where the debtor is an individual, the statutory demand should be personally served. The creditor needs to do all that is reasonable to bring the statutory demand to the debtor’s attention. This is normally done via a process server to ensure personal service of the statutory demand on the debtor.
Alternatively, a statutory demand should normally be served on a company by leaving it at the company’s registered address or by transmission by first class post to the company’s registered office. Proof of receipt of the statutory demand is important.
Once a statutory demand has been served on the debtor, the debtor then has 21 days to comply. If no action is taken by the debtor within this period, a creditor may file a bankruptcy petition or a winding up petition to commence insolvency proceedings.
Has the debt been reduced to below the thresholds mentioned above?
Is there a genuine dispute or counterclaim to the debt claim either in part or full?
Is there some other valid reason for not paying the debt?
Has an application been made to set the statutory demand aside or has an application been made by the company to restrain presentation of a petition?
Once 21 days have passed after service of the statutory demand and no opposition has been expressed to it, a petition can be filed at court and served on the individual or corporate debtor.
As with a Statutory Demand, a bankruptcy petition must comply with relevant rules in order for it to be valid and effective. Some issues to consider are:
- Identification of the debtor and details of the debt
- Any reasons for delay in pursuing the debt
Once the bankruptcy petition has been drafted, it can then be filed at the appropriate court. The selection of the court at the outset is important to avoid any undue delay – with the necessary documents and court fee. It is important to procure clear proof of service. The court fee to accompany a bankruptcy petition is in excess of £1,250.
Before filing a bankruptcy petition, a central index search must be carried out to check if a petition has already been filed by another creditor. The court will then fix a hearing date usually around 6-8 weeks away and provide sealed copies of the petition for transmission and service on the debtor within the prescribed timelines. Where service proves difficult, alternative service methods can be used with the permission of the court.
As with bankruptcy petitions, a winding up petition must comply with the relevant rules.
Some issues to bear in mind are:
- Details of the creditor, debtor and the court
- The grounds on which the petition is sought
Once the winding up petition has been drafted, it can be filed at the relevant court with the supporting documents, including proof of service and payment of the appropriate court fee, currently set at around £1,900.
Once the fee has been paid and the petition has been filed, the court will provide sealed copies of the petition and set a hearing date for the petition to be heard.
The sealed petition will then need to be served on the corporate debtor in accordance with the prescribed rules. Clear evidence of service will be required for consideration at the hearing. Unlike bankruptcy petitions, a notice of the winding up petition needs to be advertised in the Gazette. This enables other creditors to register their interest in the petition, either by expressing their support or opposition. There are rules governing the timing of publication by reference to the service and hearing dates which we can assist with. There is also a relatively small fee to be paid.
On 25 June 2020, the Corporate Insolvency Governance Act 2020 (“CIGA”) received royal assent and introduced measures to relieve the burden on businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak and to allow them to focus efforts on continuing to trade.
Although, the measures were initially due to be in place until 30 September 2020, the Government has since extended various deadlines.
CIGA introduced a blanket ban on the use of statutory demands as a tool to commence winding-up proceedings. In line with the above regulations, statutory demands served between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021 cannot form the basis of a winding-up petition presented at any point after 27 April 2020.
Whilst statutory demands cannot form the basis of a winding-up petition during this period, there is currently no blanket ban on presenting winding-up petitions where no Statutory Demand is required.
Creditors should note however, if a winding-up petition is filed with the court and the court determines that Covid-19 has had a financial impact on the company (which will need to be argued in court), the petition will be dismissed. It is crucial that creditors are satisfied that (a) Covid-19 has not had a financial impact on the debtor company; or (b) the debtor company would have been unable to pay its debts regardless of Covid-19, before presenting a winding-up petition.