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There have now been a number of cases which have considered this question.
Usually, the Secretary of State’s jurisdiction would only apply to companies registered at UK Companies House. However, there have now been a few examples of where the Secretary of State has issued a winding up petition in the public interest in relation to an overseas company. Originally, the Secretary of State needed to meet three requirements for a winding up order to be made against the foreign company, namely;
- a sufficient connection with the UK;
- a real possibility that a winding up order would benefit those applying for it; and
- that the court must be able to exercise jurisdiction over one or more person interested in the distribution of the company’s assets.
However, the test has mellowed and now for public interest winding up petitions, there now only needs to be a sufficient connection, such that it is just and equitable for the foreign company to be wound up in the public interest in the UK.
A connection to the UK could mean a number of things, including whether the company’s administration is based in the UK, whether they do business with clients in the UK or whether they supplied services which are marketed in the UK.
There appears to be no requirement for the overseas company to have assets within the jurisdiction. It can still be wound up in the public interest if the “sufficient connection” test can be proved.
Francis Wilks & Jones is the county’s leading firm of public interest winding up petition solicitors. We are genuine experts in what we do. If the Secretary of State has presented a public interest winding up petition against your company, we are the experts for you. Our knowledge of the relevant winding up petition legislation combined with our day to day experience and team of experts makes us the right choice for companies in need of winding up petition advice.