Insolvency Service criminal enforcement team

The Insolvency Service criminal enforcement team works to deter fraud in companies and by bankrupts, by prosecuting breaches of Insolvency and Company Law.

Once we accept a complaint about alleged criminality by a bankrupt or relating to the affairs of a limited company we will conduct a criminal investigation, or we may refer the case to others for regulatory enforcement.

One of our Investigation Officers will gather evidence and take witness statements. If appropriate, they will invite suspects to an interview under caution. Suspects can attend with or without legal representation.

A departmental lawyer will then decide if there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each proposed defendant, and whether it is in the public interest for the department to bring the case to court.

Where there is enough evidence a prosecution will usually take place - unless the prosecutor is sure this would not be in the public interest. We follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors to make this decision.

Witnesses may be required to give evidence during a prosecution, and our Law Clerks will keep them updated as to the progress of the case. These guides provide information on the process:

As part of our aim to deter fraud sometimes we will apply to the court to confiscate from the defendant the proceeds of their crime.

We may also seek to protect the public, for example by requesting the court to disqualify a defendant from being involved in the running of a limited company. This can be for a maximum of 15 years.

How to report wrongdoing

We do not accept reports of wrongdoing from the public. If you wish to make a complaint about wrongdoing by someone who is bankrupt or about the affairs of a limited or public company please use the links below for more information:

You can also check if someone is bankrupt, has restrictions as a bankrupt, is disqualified from running a limited company, or the status of a company:

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

The Criminal Enforcement branch at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills takes its duties towards victims and witnesses seriously and is committed to the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.

This code of practice:

  • sets out essential matters for us to consider when dealing with victims of crime
  • covers the provision of information during the investigative and prosecution process
  • outlines the right to review certain decisions made in certain circumstances

Insolvency Service criminal enforcement victims’ code guidance

For further information see guidance for victims of crime.