The Insolvency and Companies Court (“ICC”) issued a new temporary Practice Direction on Insolvency Proceedings (“TIPD”) earlier this week. The TIPD supplements the existing insolvency practice direction dated 4 July 2018.
The TIPD came into force on 6 April 2020 and, unless amended or revoked by a further insolvency practice direction, will remain in force until 1 October 2020. The TIPD provides helpful clarification on the status of pending applications and petitions. A summary of the practice direction is as follows:
- Bankruptcy and winding-up petitions will continue to run. The ICC will allocate time slots for groups of two or more petitions. The court will allocate each slot with a video or telephone meeting link (the nature of such link will be determined by the court) and the links will be published on the daily cause list. Notice of intention to appear at hearings still has to be sent and must include an email address or telephone number to enable the court to send the relevant meeting invite.
- The ICC prefer the use of Skype for Business for remote hearings.
- Apart from winding-up and bankruptcy petitions to be heard at the Rolls Building in London, all applications and claim forms listed for a hearing before 21 April 2020 are adjourned and will be re-listed in accordance with paragraph 4.1 of the TIPD.
- Urgent hearings before a High Court Judge or an ICC Judge can be arranged by emailing Rolls.ICL.Hearings1@justice.gov.uk. Applicants will be required to set out the nature of the application, why it is urgent, estimated time for reading and hearing, the number of parties to attend and that the hearing can be conducted using Skype for Business, another platform or telephone. On receipt, the court will allocate a hearing to a judge and send an agreed platform meeting invite to the parties. A pdf containing only essential documents for the hearing should be sent by email to the court.
- The date and time for the filing of notice(s) of intention and notice(s) of appointment of administrators – notices shall be treated as delivered to the court at the date and time recorded in the Filing Submission Email. Any notice(s) of intention and notice(s) of appointment filed by the company or its directors outside the court opening hours of 10.00am – 16.00pm shall be treated as being delivered at court at 10.00am on the day the courts are next open for business. The holder of a qualifying floating charge (QFCHs) may not e-file notice(s) of appointment of administrators outside normal court hours, however, out of hours appointments are still available to QFCHs following the normal procedure set out in rule 3.20 of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016.
- Statutory declarations required within notice of intentions and notice of appointment of administrators for administration appointments can now be made using video conference. Where statutory declarations are required under Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986, and they are not made in-person the court has discretion to declare that this formal defect or irregularity does not invalidate the underlying insolvency proceedings to which the declaration relates and any defect arising from using a virtual process shall not by itself be regarded as causing substantial injustice. The court will not regard the potential defect as causing substantial injustice provided that it is made by way of video conference, the person administering the oath attests that the statutory declaration was made by way of video conference and the statutory declaration states the manner in which it was made.
If you have any queries arising from the practice direction or how to implement the changes in practice, please do not hesitate to contact a member of Clifton Ingram’s Corporate Recovery and Insolvency Team – Barry Niven on 0118 9523569 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Joel Molloy on 0118 9120229.
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