Practise as an insolvency practitioner under EU directives

This guide is for people who want to practise as an insolvency practitioner under the provisions of EU Directives 2005/36 & 2006/123.

What the EU directives say

EU Directive 2005/36 provides that insolvency practitioners who have gained professional qualifications in one relevant state (members of the European Economic Area & Switzerland) shall have access to that profession in the other relevant states. In practical terms an applicant from a relevant state, who wishes to become established in another state, can apply for authorisation to a competent authority and that authority must recognise equivalent professional qualifications obtained in the applicant’s home state or other relevant state.

The Provision of Services Directive 2006/123 seeks to remove barriers to service providers setting up business in other EU states and is subject to the provisions of EU Directive 2005/36.

The Insolvency Service has jurisdiction to authorise insolvency practitioners who want to practise primarily in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). If you want to practise in Northern Ireland, contact the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment.  

Apply to act as an insolvency practitioner in Great Britain on a temporary or occasional basis

The Insolvency Service has an agreement with the seven recognised professional bodies that it will deal with all applications for registration as a temporary or occasional provider in Great Britain.

You will have to comply with the requirements of Parts 3 & 4 of the Insolvency Practitioner Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No.524) and The Provision of Services (Insolvency Practitioner) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009 No. 3081)

If you are intending to act as an office holder, you should provide a copy of your bonding arrangements together with other necessary documentation to the Secretary of State.

If you are applying for registration as a service provider, you must complete a declaration and provide relevant documents before you can start providing services.

Once completed, the documents should be sent to Insolvency Practitioner Policy Section, The Insolvency Service, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT or email

If you have any queries or you have not received an acknowledgement of your declaration within 48 hours, contact Insolvency Practitioner Policy Section on 0207 291 6772.  

Becoming established as an insolvency practitioner in Great Britain under the EU directives

Who may authorise insolvency practitioners in the UK

There are 10 competent authorities that authorise insolvency practitioners in the UK. If you are an accountant or a lawyer you may first consider applying to the appropriate professional body:

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales*
  • The Institute of Charted Accountants of Scotland*
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland*
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants*
  • The Law Society
  • The Law Society of Scotland**
  • The Law Society of Ireland**
  • The Insolvency Practitioners Association*

*Under certain circumstances these bodies will authorise non-members.

**Currently both bodies limit the jurisdiction in which their members may operate.

Northern Ireland

The Insolvency Service, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, has jurisdiction to authorise insolvency practitioners to provide services in Great Britain.

If you want to act as an office holder primarily in Northern Ireland, you should apply to the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment (DETINI) –

Reciprocal arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Since 28 December 2009, Insolvency practitioners who are authorised by the Secretary of State are authorised to act in Northern Ireland under the provisions of regulation 2(3) of the Provision of Services (Insolvency Practitioners) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 (SI 2009 No. 401) and reciprocal arrangements apply to those insolvency practitioners authorised by DETINI to enable them to act in Great Britain.

FORM IA1 - application for authorisation to act as an insolvency practitioner

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Applications to the Secretary of State should be addressed to:

Insolvency Practitioner Unit
4th Floor
Cannon House
18 Priory Queensway
Birmingham B4 6BS


Find out about practising as an insolvency practitioner in other European states under the EU directives

Unless you are authorised by the Secretary of State you should approach your own authorising body for fuller information. IPs authorised by the Secretary of State should contact:

Telephone: 0121 698 4230


Published 22 April 2014