The Insolvency Service’s official receivers are responsible for the administration and investigation of a case when:
a company goes into compulsory liquidation
a bankruptcy order is made
a debt relief order is made
Our company investigations team may investigate:
following formal insolvency proceedings where we receive information about a director’s conduct (in one or more companies) that would make them unfit to manage a company if it was proven, and
taking into account all circumstances of the case, a court would be likely to make a disqualification order
We also have the power to conduct confidential investigations into limited companies and limited liability partnerships where we have received information that suggests serious corporate abuse. We can investigate when the company is actively trading or has ceased trading without entering into insolvency proceedings, but not when a company has been dissolved. If we feel it is appropriate, we may apply to the court for a company to be wound up and/ or for one or more directors to be disqualified.
The above powers to investigate are civil and not criminal. If it seems that a debtor, a company or its officers may have committed criminal offences or other regulatory breaches, the case may be referred to our Criminal Investigation Team, the police, a regulator or other investigation agency. It is for that body to decide whether it is appropriate for them to carry out any further investigation. This does not prevent the civil investigator including details of the unfit conduct in any civil action we may take.
Our Legal Services Directorate (LSD) provides a wide range of legal, operational and policy advice. It conducts both civil and criminal proceedings to restrict those who have acted improperly during the course of insolvency or the life of a company, to wind up companies in the public interest and to bring to justice those who commit criminal offences within the remit of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
LSD works with colleagues throughout the Insolvency Service, BEIS, the Government Legal Profession and across the public and private sectors to achieve appropriate enforcement activity to deter financial wrongdoing and to support the BEIS Industrial Strategy. LSD and our Criminal Investigation Team do not accept reports of wrongdoing directly from the public. Referrals may only be made by other agencies and from teams within the Insolvency Service.