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Voluntary Liquidation for Law Firms

1st March, 2023
Keith Steven

Written ByKeith Steven

Managing Director

07879 555349

Keith is the author of the content on this comprehensive rescue, turnaround and insolvency website. He is the managing director of KSA Group Ltd - a specialist firm of turnaround and licensed insolvency practitioners. Keith was nominated for Turnaround Practitioner of the Year 2014 at the National Insolvency and Rescue Awards in 2014.

Keith Steven
worried director
  • What Does Going Into Voluntary liquidation for law firms Mean?

If your law practice has severe cashflow problems and creditor or HMRC pressure is growing, it’s time to get support and advice on your options. Act now before the SRA takes action.

Its free to get initial advice from experts in turnaround, insolvency and liquidation such as KSA Group who own this website. We have been rescuing, restructuring, liquidating and selling law firms since 2003. Talking to experts (free) helps you understand this complex option and you will find it takes a lot of weight off your mind.

If the law practice is not viable or cannot be made profitable after aggressive restructuring, downsizing, turnaround or perhaps through a company voluntary arrangement for law firms or by using a pre pack administration then voluntary liquidation may be the most practical solution.

What Does Going Into Voluntary liquidation for law firms Mean?

Where the directors, or designated members of an LLP, have decided that the company has no viable future or purpose then a decision may be made to cease trading and wind up the company. Clearly such a decision should not be taken lightly and we would recommend that all other options are carefully considered by the directors. You should take advice from us on all options before making decisions of such huge importance and finality.

Above ALL else, before the liquidation process starts it is vital to speak to the SRA and get it involved. The SRA’s primary concern won’t be for the company or LLP, but for the clients, the client files and the client monies. The SRA will want to know that you have a plan for all three client issues BEFORE you go down the liquidation path.

There are two basic ways that the company or LLP can be wound up: the creditors petition and commencing a creditors voluntary liquidation.

Creditors Petition

A creditor can petition to wind up the company if debts of more than £750 are outstanding. This leads to compulsory liquidation by the Court. SRA will almost certainly intervene if a winding up petition is advertised and there is no plan to protect the clients. Speak to us URGENTLY if you have any threatened winding up petitions by creditors or by HMRC.

Creditors Voluntary liquidation: caution do not go down this path unless you have already taken advice from insolvency practitioners.

The liquidation process for in depth reading see our experts guide to creditors voluntary liquidation here

Once appointed the tasks of the liquidator are to

  1. Realise the assets in the company including any overdrawn directors loan accounts. All debtors, property and other assets will be collected by the liquidator.
  2. Investigate the conduct of the directors and officers of the company.
  3. The liquidator must also ascertain whether any transactions have taken place that put the creditors (individually or collectively) into a better position than they should be then such transactions (known as preferences or transactions at undervalue). If such transactions have been completed before the winding up, they can be un-done. (Antecedent transactions).
  4. The liquidator agrees the claims of creditors and eventually completes his /her work by making payments (called distributions) to the creditors in order of priority (if any distributions can be made).

Common sense dictates that allowing creditors to initiate compulsory liquidation proceedings indicates to creditors and the liquidator that the directors have failed to act in the best interests of the body of creditors as a whole. Clearly the regulators will be unimpressed too!

As a law firm you MUST inform the SRA if any winding up petition is served, or if you plan to enter into CVApre pack administration

If you fail to act or involve the regulators, then SRA will certainly intervene in the process and remove the clients files and seize the trust accounts. It is vital to discuss the plans to liquidate the company with the SRA at the earliest opportunity.

Before deciding to liquidate please review all the contents of this site and take advice from expert insolvency and turnaround practitioners who know the problems which law firms face. Call us on 0800 9700539. Or email us with your basic details and we will call you back at an agreed time and in confidence.

Free and confidential advice from insolvency practitioners.

Our initial advice is always free. However, in advance of any meeting and issuance of engagement  letters our regulators and the Insolvency Service (part of HM Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) require all insolvency practitioners to obtain know your client (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) identification documents for all directors and shareholders holding >25% of the shares to allow us to proceed to advise the company. We will require up to date ID information including a photographic ID, such as a passport or driving licence PLUS a home utility bill or bank statement for each person.

Worried Director What Will Happen To Me After Liquidation?

in Company Liquidation What is …?

"A man in the pub said I cannot be a director of any other company if I liquidate my company. Is this true?"Actually, this statement is entirely false! Misconceptions like this frequently arise from individuals with limited understanding of the subject matter. Such misinformation can cause undue anxiety for directors considering liquidation, fearing it might personally affect them. Guess what? Listening to bar room experts, inexperienced accountants, or no insolvency specialist lawyers can stop decisions being made, this failure to make a decision is really what could land you in trouble. So how will liquidation affect me and how long does it take? Having a limited liability company means that the directors have little risk (or limited liability) if the company fails, as long as they have acted properly and acted in time. What is more, if as a director, you have been compliant and on the payroll for many years, you can actually claim redundancy from the government like any other employee. But, and it is a big but, if you fail to act in time, fail to act reasonably, fail to keep books and records, continue taking credit KNOWING that the company cannot possibly repay it, then you ARE at risk of personal financial loss or worse such as losing your house. So, act now and get help for your company and more importantly start reducing your own risks.Voluntary liquidation is the quickest most efficient way to deal with an insolvent company that has no future. As a director of an insolvent company, you are at risk if you do not act. This risk RISES the longer you don't act to put the company into liquidation.If you fail to act and the company is wound up by the creditors (compulsory liquidation) then the Official Receiver (OR) will be appointed to liquidate the business and he or she will investigate the activity of the directors and the business over the last 2-3 years. This is known as a conduct report on each director.  If the OR can prove there was wrongful trading where, for instance, you have taken credit from a supplier or took deposits from customers when you knew that it was highly unlikely that you could pay them back, then you could be made personally liable.This is known as the "lifting of the veil of incorporation" that protects directors under limited liability. If this happens then you could made liable for PAYE, VAT and creditors monies from the time that you should have known the company had no reasonable prospect of surviving the problems it faced.Additionally, the directors may face disqualification proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 for up to 15 years, they can be fined and may face the loss of personal assets like your home, or even personal bankruptcy.Look, if you as directors have acted naively you may not know that you have broken these laws, but now you do know, it is vital to ensure that you protect yourself as a director by acting quickly to cease trading and put the company into voluntary liquidation; or consider a company voluntary arrangement if the company is VIABLE if the problems are solved. What is Creditors Voluntary Liquidation and what does it mean for me? In short, liquidation usually means, the company's trading stops and it's assets are turned into cash or "liquidated".All other possible liabilities, like employment liabilities, landlord's rent or payments to lease companies are stopped. It really is the end of the company, but the "business" may survive if a phoenix is organised. Liquidation is a powerful way to END creditor pressure and let you get on with your life. What if I have signed personal guarantees? If you have signed personal guarantees or indemnities to lenders, then the liquidation could lead to them being called in if the bank cannot get its money back from the company. There is little that can be done about that, but you should not delay decisions on liquidation to try and prevent a PG being called in: just think what ALL of the company's debts landing on your shoulders would do. Also it should be noted that HMRC now rank ahead of floating charge holders in any liquidation since December 2020.  Consequently, this may well mean that lenders that you have personally guaranteed will get less recovery hence exposing you more.All banks will agree a deal to repay the PG over time - provided you work with the bank to reduce their exposure.One great piece of FREE advice - always make sure that ALL tax returns, VAT returns and annual returns have been completed and sent in and that other "compliance" issues are dealt with wherever possible. These are important processes and will help protect you as individual directors. It shows that you have been acting properly.  I have heard about directors being able to claim redundancy in liquidation If you have been employed by the company and made payments via PAYE then you will be able to claim redundancy from the government and this is in fact a very simple process (20 minutes to fill out a form and we can help with that) so there is no need really to employ a third party to make a claim.  This process has been open to fraud so the HMRC are cracking down on operators that claim to be able to get money back when there is not enough "paperwork".  It isn't worth the risk.  If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!You need to learn more about the options. This is clearly a general guide so, if you have any worries at all, please, just call us and we will talk you through the situation free and with expert guidance for your situation. Call one of our advisors or if you prefer, call our IPs (insolvency practitioners) now:Just one CALL will help relieve the stress and get you out of the mess.Why not call 08009700539 or 020 7887 2667 now?We could help you start the liquidation process today.(8.15am till 5.00pm; Out of hours call on 07833 240747, Wayne Harrison (IP)  or Eric Walls (IP) on 07787 278527)Finally, please remember this: NO BUSINESS is worth losing your health, relationships, marriages or your children over. Act properly, take advice, get the problem sorted and then get on with your life. In a little while the stress will go and you can focus on other things that are more important.Want more information on liquidation? Get our new free 2023 Experts Complete Guide to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation that covers Bounce Back LoansWe are experts in liquidation, voluntary liquidation, administration, pre-pack administration, business rescue, corporate rescue and company rescue, we can help solve your problems but only if you talk to us. Call 0800 9700539 for help.or email us your worries at 

Worried Director What Will Happen To Me After Liquidation?

Notice of Intention To Appoint Administrators

A notice of intention to appoint administrators is when the company files a document to the court to outline that it intends to go into administration if a solution cannot be found to its immediate financial problems. It can be used as part of the pre-pack administration process as well as used to restructure a failing business to avoid its liquidation.

Notice of Intention To Appoint Administrators
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What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor

A winding up petition is a legal notice put forward to the court by a creditor. The creditor petitions to the court if they are owed more than £750 and it has not been paid for more than 21 days. The application, in effect, asks the court to liquidate the company as they believe the company is insolvent.

What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor

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