A crucial aspect of our daily work at Napiers involves interpreting and applying legislation to urgent cases of financial distress, engaging with banks, lenders and financial institutions as well as providing support and guidance for local businesses endeavouring to manage cashflow and liabilities.
As both Solicitors and Insolvency Practitioners, we have a firm grasp of the contentious issues which arise in this area of practice, the importance of proactive problem solving and the acute need for effective legal representation to ensure fairness and access to justice. Our work often requires making contentious decisions on asset realisations, reporting to stakeholders and the Department of the Economy, developing action plans for case progression, exploring alternative dispute resolution and assessing risk at all stages.
Navigating financial hardship, developing a strategy for debt management or challenging the unfair treatment of creditors is not for the faint hearted or those that dabble in this area of law. Professional, timely advice from an expert is essential.
|Debtor’s Bankruptcy Petition||Directors’ Winding-up Petition|
|Creditor’s Bankruptcy Petition||Creditor’s Winding-up Petition|
|Post-bankruptcy advice on income and windfalls||Liquidations - Members Voluntary Liquidations (& Creditors Voluntary Liquidations)|
|Asset Realisation & Repossession Proceedings including the family home||Strategic advice on the Sale or Purchase of Company Assets subject to an Insolvency process|
|IVA: Individual Voluntary Arrangements (an alternative to bankruptcy)||CVA: Company Voluntary Arrangements|
|Annulments||Litigation arising from pre-insolvency corporate transfers or transactions defrauding creditors|
|Challenges to previous transactions at undervalue, defrauding creditors or Preference Claims||Corporate offences, wrongful trading & fraudulent trading|
If you or a family member are facing financial distress or your assets are at risk due to an insolvency process, we can help. We offer a personalised approach in times of financial distress. We have an acute working knowledge of the realities of debt management, the implications of Bankruptcy and the challenges of Insolvency. We recognise that it is vital to ensure that those in financial difficulty have access to a source of rescue and recovery and can avail of the legal mechanisms in place to offer debt relief.
Our team works with a diverse range of local businesses and service providers of all sizes, from sole trader firms to family-owned businesses through to complex corporate entities. This includes acting for company directors, business partners, shareholders, employees or suppliers to guide them through the insolvency process and help them enforce their rights and remedies.
We offer meaningful practical advice to those involved in company management before, during an and after an insolvency process such as a liquidation. This can involve assisting with investigation into the failure of the company, representing a director if they are subject to litigation or face disqualification proceedings.
Our dual qualification as Solicitors and Insolvency Practitioners, enables us to work with other practitioners to offer legal solutions and support in the administration of an insolvent estate particularly in contentious situations involving court proceedings and the forced sale of assets. This includes acting for other officeholders such as Trustee in Bankruptcies, Supervisors of Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Liquidators & Administrators.
Bankruptcy is a statutory process. There are both formal and informal procedures available as alternatives to bankruptcy. The informal processes centre upon agreeing a repayment plan directly with creditors. Such processes can be effective in some cases, but they do not offer the legal protections that are ingrained within the formal processes. The most prominent, legally binding alternative to Bankruptcy is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) which is a debt restructuring plan that allows debts to be settled under the supervision of a licensed Insolvency Practitioner with the agreement of the individual’s creditors.
Yes, repossession is a last resort but unfortunately, the family home is often the core asset in a bankruptcy case. The law provides that once a year has passed since the making of a bankruptcy order, the rights of the creditors are paramount in all but exceptional circumstances. Engaging with the Trustee in Bankruptcy is key to avoiding eviction. We regularly enter into negotiations on behalf of non-bankrupt family members so that we can safeguard the family home.
A transfer at undervalue is a term which appears in the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 to describe a situation whereby an individual or company that is insolvent gives away or transfers one of their assets for less than it is worth. This impacts the amount of money which is available for the creditors that are owed money by the company or individual. The legislation enables such transactions to be scrutinised by the Court and if appropriate, to set aside the transaction to put the parties back in the position that they would have been in if the transfer had not taken place.
The Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 provides that the minimum amount payable to a creditor before a Winding-Up Petition can be issued is £750.00. However, it should be noted that the cost of Winding-up a company exceed £750.00 and so we work with our clients to carry out a cost/benefit before embarking on any winding-up process.
As a general rule, a company is a distinct legal entity and the directors do not have personal liability for the company’s debts. However, a director has a number of statutory duties, and it is possible, that breaching these duties and/or acting recklessly or dishonestly when conducting company business can lead to personal liability. For example, if a director fails to take steps to minimise the potential loss to creditors when they know or ought to know that a company is insolvent, a Court can determine that they must make a contribution to the debts of the company as they have guilty of wrongful trading.
Also, company directors will often be required to sign personal guarantees for company debts. Executing such guarantees means that a creditor can take action against the director if the company fails to pay the debt.
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