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New Insolvency Rules from 6 April 2017

The Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 came into effect this month, replacing the Insolvency Rules 1986. The rules have been restructured, consolidated and modernised, with the intention of delivering efficiency savings through deregulation. The following is a brief round-up of some of the key features.

Forms

Statutory forms have been abolished. The rules themselves now stipulate requirements for various documents. Templates are published by the Insolvency Service at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/insolvency-service-forms-england-and-wales.

Decision Making

New decision making procedures have been introduced following the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

  • Physical creditors’ meetings have been abolished as the default method of decision making. An office holder cannot now call a physical meeting unless requested to do so by at least 10% by value of the creditors, 10% of the total number of creditors or 10 individual creditors.
  • Some specific meetings have been abolished, including final meetings of creditors.
  • Proposals can be approved using a new deemed consent procedure, in which the office holder writes to creditors with a proposal, which is deemed approved if objections are not received from 10% of creditors by value.
  • Alternative decision making procedures are specified, including correspondence, electronic voting, virtual meetings and physical meetings (where requested). Other methods are permitted, provided creditors can participate equally.

Small Debts

Where a debtor’s books show a debt of less than £1,000, the office holder can notify the creditor of the intention to make a distribution and the debt is deemed proved if no objection is received.

Communications and Publications

Electronic communications are encouraged by removing the requirement of written consent to communication by e-mail and the requirement of the court’s permission to publication of notices online.

Creditors can now opt out of receiving most communications from office holders.

Details of creditors who are employees or consumers should now be omitted from statements of affairs to be filed and published and instead set out in a schedule.

Practice Direction

The Insolvency Proceedings Practice Direction will be revoked and replaced in due course. The present position is that practices set out in the existing practice direction may be followed only to the extent that they do not contradict the new rules.

John Ditchburn / 26th Apr 2017


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