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European cross-border insolvency proceedings
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Further information


European cross-border insolvency proceedings


Council Regulation (EC) No.1346/2000 became effective on 31 May 2002. The Regulation is directly applicable and an integral part of each member state's law (except Denmark where parallel legislation will apply). To implement the Regulation in the UK, it was necessary to make some limited changes to the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Insolvency Rules.

1. What is the effect of the Regulation?

The Regulation restricts where insolvency proceedings can be opened to the country where the debtor has his "centre of main interests". It requires insolvency proceedings opened under the Regulation to be recognised, and liquidators to be able to exercise their powers, in all member states.

The relevant company insolvency proceedings covered by the Regulation in the UK are:

Winding up by or subject to the supervision of the court;
Creditors' voluntary winding up (with confirmation by the court);
Administration; and
Corporate voluntary arrangements under insolvency legislation
The Regulation does not apply to receiverships – administrative or otherwise – nor to members' voluntary winding up or to winding-up orders.

As a result of the regulations a number of statutory forms (relating primarily to the opening of insolvency proceedings) have been amended and one new form has been introduced.

2. Companies incorporated in Great Britain

Insolvency proceedings opened in this country will continue as normal. However, insolvency proceedings may be opened in another EU Member State if the company has its centre of main interests there. The public records of companies registered in England and Wales will show insolvency proceedings opened in another Member State of the EU. This will be the only indication that there are insolvency proceedings taking place abroad – the 'L' (for liquidation) marker will not appear against the company name on the Registrar's index of company names.

3. Companies incorporated in other EU member states

Insolvency proceedings may be opened in the UK and be governed by UK law if the company has its centre of main interests here. Alternatively, insolvency proceedings may be opened in another Member State.

The public records of EU companies that have registered a place of business or branch within England and Wales will show insolvency proceedings opened in another Member State of the EU. This will be the only indication that there are insolvency proceedings taking place abroad – the 'L' (for liquidation) marker will not appear against the company name on the Registrar's index of company names.

EU companies that have not registered a place of business or branch within England and Wales can submit details of insolvency proceedings opened in another Member State of the EU. These documents may be searched on the Register of EC Insolvency Orders by contacting Companies House on 0303 1234 500.

4. Where can I obtain copies of the relevant legislation and get further information?

Copies of the Council Regulation and relevant UK Statutory Instruments are available on the Insolvency Service web-site.

Enquiries about the Regulation should be forwarded to the Insolvency Service Policy Unit or telephone 020 7291 6740