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Insolvency Practitioners

An Insolvency Practitioner is someone who is licensed and authorised under the Insolvency Act 1986 to act in relation to an insolvent individual, partnership or companies.

An Insolvency Practitioner must have passed the insolvency examinations set by the Joint Insolvency Examination Board (JIEB), have practical experience in insolvency work, and must have satisfied their Recognised Professional Body, of which they will be a member, that they are fit to act as an Insolvency Practitioner.

An Insolvency Practitioner must hold a licence provided by one of the following Recognised Professional Bodies:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
  • The Law Society
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Insolvency Practitioners Association

In the United Kingdom only a licensed Insolvency Practitioner can be appointed as a Liquidator, Administrator or Administrative Receiver of companies, or as a Trustee or Supervisor of the estates of individuals.

Insolvency Practitioners are subject to regulation by their Recognised Professional Body, although this may well change to a single regulator, in due course.  Insolvency Practitioners act in accordance with the provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 and Companies Act 2006.

At the present time, there are approximately 2,500 Licensed Insolvency Practitioners in the United Kingdom but a significant number do not take appointments.

Insolvency Service

The Insolvency Service provides a framework and the means for dealing with financial failure in the UK economy.  It also deals with misconduct associated with business and individual financial failures.

The Insolvency Service maintains and develops UK insolvency law and the regulatory framework.  The Insolvency Service also delivers key public services to support the insolvency framework and in addition delivers and promotes an effective investigation and enforcement regime.
The Insolvency Service investigates the failures of companies and individuals subject to Compulsory Liquidation and Bankruptcy.  The Insolvency Service is also responsible for commencing disqualification proceedings against delinquent directors and for taking action against companies where it is in the public interest to do so.

The Redundancy Payments Office, which steps in to pay employees of insolvent companies and individuals (up to certain limits), is part of the Insolvency Service.

The Insolvency Service also carries out the following functions:

  • the Official Receivers who head the Insolvency Service, act as trustees/liquidators where no private sector insolvency practitioner is appointed;
  • the Official Receivers act as nominees and supervisors in fast-track individual voluntary arrangements;
  • deals with bankruptcy and debt relief restrictions orders and undertakings;
  • authorise and regulate the insolvency profession;
  • provides estate accounting and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds;
  • conducts confidential fact-finding investigations into companies where it is in the public interest to do so.
  • advises BIS ministers and other government departments and agencies on insolvency, redundancy and related issues; and
  • provides information to the public on insolvency and redundancy matters via its website, leaflets, Insolvency Enquiry Line and Redundancy Payments Helpline.

The Insolvency Service operates under a statutory framework – mainly the Insolvency Acts 1986 and 2000, the Company Directors Disqualifications Act 1986 and the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Companies Acts 1985 and 2006, as well as from a range of secondary legislation relating to these acts. The Service has around 2,100 staff, operating from 35 locations across Great Britain.