If you have been served with a winding up petition - it is vital to quickly assess the situation and take legal advice on how best to stop the petition proceeding. There are various options available and our expert team has helped 100's companies successfully resolve a winding up petition situation. Let us help you.
There are a number of different ways to approach the question how to stop a winding up petition. Much will depend on the circumstances and even if you contest some or all of the debt, sometimes there are commercial considerations at play. The mere existence of a winding up petition can be hugely damaging to a company – reputationally and financially. Even if a petition is not formally advertised – banks can still find out about them and freeze a company bank account. This can have significant knock on effects for a company.
How can I stop a winding up petition?
Our experts regulalry advise companies facing winding up orders and having dealt with 100’s of these claims before, will know how best to resolve the situation for you.
Some of the options are as follows:
- Pay the debt due. It might sound obvious – but if the winding up order debt is undisputed, then the simplest way is to pay the winding up petition debt following which, the petition can be withdrawn from court. This is vital as it reduces the chances of it becoming a matter of public record and also stops the chances of the petition being supported by another creditor of the company. The debtor might have to sort out the legal costs of the winding up petition but this is a quick way of sorting out and stopping a winding up order being made. If you react quickly, are in a position to pay the debt – the petition can be withdrawn in as little as 24 – 48 hours from service.
- Dispute the winding up petition. If the winding up petition debt is disputed, then it is possible to obtain what is known as an injunction to prevent winding up petition. Winding up petitions should only be used where the debt is not subject to a dispute. The dispute has to be a genuine one. Alternatively, the debtor may have a cross claim which is higher than the amount being claimed on the winding up petition. If the petitioner refuses to withdraw the winding up petition in circumstances where it has been notified that the winding up petition debt is disputed, then the debtor can obtain an injunction which is a type of court order to prevent the winding up order being made at court. Legal advice is required for the injunction process as it is quite a significant application to be made in the winding up order court. The injunction will prevent the winding up petition being advertised in the London Gazette, something which commonly will spell the end to a business. The downside of this course of action is that the petition might stay on the court record until the injunction hearing takes place.
- If there are procedural defects in the winding up petition document then this can also lead to a winding up order being dismissed. There are strict rules relating to the winding up procedure and winding up company law and if these are not followed, it can lead to the winding up petition being dismissed.
- It is usually possible to agree a negotiated settlement of the petition debt – and if terms can be met, this might lead to an early withdrawal of the petition from court. It is always sensible to explore this possibility.
- If it isnt possible to immediately have the petition withdrawn but you still need to keep trading, we can help you apply to court for a validation order to allow payments to be made by the company and avoid the risk of personal money claims against the directors later on.
Sadly it isn’t always possible to pay the petition debt and if you are being chased by HMRC – they are renowned for taking a tough line in winding up petitions. In these circumstances, our company rescue team can provide advice on various restructuring options such as company voluntary arrangements or administration. Or if there is no other alternative, the right insolvency process and advice to the directors about how best to avoid any future claims from the liquidator or Secretary of State for director disqualification.
At Francis Wilks & Jones we are experts in dealing with the question how to stop a winding up petition. We know every aspect of the winding up procedure and deal with all matters of company rescue. Call us today for help.