A partnership is a trading entity made up of a number of individual "members". In insolvency there is no protection for each of the members of the partnernship, as in a limited liability company. Therefore, the individual partners are fully liable for the partnership debts if the partnership cannot meet them.
What is Joint and Several Liability?
This implies that all members are liable for the partnership debts in full or in part individually, dependent usually on their ability to pay. Thus a creditor(s) /liquidator can "go after" the member with the most assets to satisfy debts, then the next and so on until all debts are satisfied or until all partners are made bankrupt.
Joint and Several Liability will apply to you and your partner, so long that you have a joint account, a partnership account and two or more people have signed a guarantee or mortgagae for a joint liability.
Trading as a partnership can carry some tax rewards and other benefits but when things go wrong or the partnership becomes insolvent (or only even if an individual partner becomes insolvent) a partnership can be a nightmare to deal with. There are powerful arguments to incorporate a fast growing partnership or one that is increasing its debts especially where tightly drawn up partnership agreements are NOT in place.
See Domino Effect for further details.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
If you are in a Limited Liability Partnership, you have slightly more protection than if you were in a partnership. Doctors, accountants, lawyers and other professions often choose this business structure to ensure as individuals, they have more protection against personal liability.
If your LLP is under financial pressure, see our page on the options available.
Worried about poor cashflow? How to win new work? How to pay wages on pay day? For expert advice on a range of issues download our free Ultimate Guide For Worried Directors today. Or just call us on 0800 9700539
Please note that the guide was written pre Covid-19 and there are some likely changes to insolvency rules regarding wrongful trading. Please see this page here.