1. Overview

You can apply to the court to close or ‘wind up’ a company if it can’t pay its debts. This is also known as compulsory liquidation.

The company’s debts must be more than £750.

To petition the court to wind up a company you’ll have to:

Your application to the court is known as a ‘winding-up petition’. If you’re successful:

  • the company assets are sold
  • any legal disputes are settled
  • the company collects money it’s owed
  • funds are paid to you and any other creditors

You might not get all or any of the money you’re owed.

There are also other ways to recover money that you’re owed. You can get a debt specialist (eg a solicitor) to help you recover debt.


The fees are:

  • £280 - court fees
  • £1,350 - petition deposit (to manage the ‘winding-up’)

You might be able to get the fees back if the company can afford to repay them.

You can pay using cash, postal orders or a building society, bank or solicitor’s cheque made payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’.

Scottish companies

There are different rules on winding up a company in Scotland.