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14 June 2012
If you are a director of a company that goes into liquidation, then as a result of your actions while the company was trading, you could be targeted by the Insolvency Service for disqualification proceedings.
Richard Ludlow, head of insolvency and debt recovery at top law firm Furley Page, says that if you are disqualified by the courts then you are not allowed to be a director of a company or to act in the promotion, formation or management of a company. The causes which could lead to you being subject to disqualification proceedings include:
When it goes into liquidation the director’s actions are considered by the liquidator who has to compile a report which is sent to the Insolvency Service (an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), where investigators consider the report and then decide whether further investigation is appropriate with a view to potentially issuing proceedings.
Richard says: “If you are disqualified from acting as a director, it can have serious consequences for you. The purpose is to prevent any meaningful involvement in the running or decision-making process of a company. If you remain involved in the running of a company after disqualification, you could face imprisonment.
“The key is to take early control when facing potential directors’ disqualification proceedings. If you do then it may be possible to avoid disqualification altogether. Even if you wait until after the disqualification proceedings have been issued, if you seek legal advice it may be possible to reduce the period of disqualification by offering mitigation or by agreeing to accept a disqualification undertaking.
“A disqualification undertaking means you accept the allegations of misconduct and agree not to act as a director or be involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for an agreed number of years. The period is usually, but not always, lower than the period asked for if proceedings are issued.
“We can also provide advice that can assist you even if you have already been disqualified from acting as director. It is possible, if you act quickly, for an application to be made to the court for permission for you to act as a director of a specific company. If successful you can then continue to run that specific company even during the period of your disqualification,” adds Richard.
Disqualification Orders or Undertakings can be for any period from two years up to 15 years for the most serious cases.
If you have any problems with insolvency and debt recovery issues, please contact Richard Ludlow on 01634 828277.