According to UK insolvency law, any creditor who serves a winding up petition against a company must advertise the petition in the London Gazette. The reason for advertising the winding up petition is to give notice to the insolvent company's other creditors and contributories so that they may be present at the petition hearing in order to submit their claims to the court.
Unfortunately, the petition advertisement also makes the winding up of the company public knowledge, an event that could have negative effects on the company's reputation and financial standing. At this point your company's bank will likely take notice and freeze all accounts.
Furthermore, once the petition is advertised there is no turning back because by law the petition hearing must commence if it has already been advertised. The only exception would be if you were to obtain a special adjournment, but the chances of this happening can be difficult.
There are only a few ways to stop a winding up petition from being advertised:
You could attempt to negotiate a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with the petitioning creditor, which would put you back on good terms by giving you a revised repayment agreement.
You could try to enter into company administration voluntarily, which would stay any legal actions being taken against your company (including compulsory liquidation) while an administrator works to facilitate a recovery.
You could apply for an injunction to restrain advertisement from the Court.
The Court will usually only grant the injunction if it can be shown that the petitioning creditor is either abusing the court process by requesting a winding up order over an unfair or misrepresented debt, or is presenting a winding up petition that is bound to fail (there is little chance of the company being wound up and liquidated over the debt).
The application for an injunction to restrain advertisement must be submitted in writing and signed by the applicant or their solicitor. It must also be supported by some form of documentation, such as a witness statement that discusses the grounds on which the petition is being claimed an abuse of court or bound to fail. Finally, the application must be listed before a judge and must be written in accordance with UK Insolvency Rules.
The easiest way to see if your company is eligible to receive an injunction to restrain advertisement, or to apply for one, is to discuss your case with a licensed insolvency practitioner.
If you're trying to keep your company from being put into compulsory liquidation and you've already been served a copy of the winding up petition then you have very little time to act. Email us or call us today on 0800 644 6080 for a free consultation and we'll help you decide on the best course of action.