Seeking Court Permission to Become or Remain a Director

Here you can download our Seeking Court Permission to Become or Remain a Director booklet. An example of the useful information you can find in the booklet is featured below.

1. Am I ever allowed to be a director whilst disqualified?

Section 17 of the Company Director Disqualification Act 1986 allows a person in certain circumstances to remain as a director (or be involved in the management of a company) despite being subject to a Director Disqualification order.

In order to gain the benefit of the court’s permission pursuant to Section 17 of the Company Director Disqualification Act 1986, you will need to make a formal application to court supported by sworn written evidence.

2. Where will an application for permission to act as a director be heard?

Ordinarily this will take place in the court which had jurisdiction to wind up the company, your conduct in which, lead to the original disqualification.

3. Can my application for permission be heard in a different court if I want?

You can always apply to have it heard elsewhere (often it is better to have a case heard by a Judge experienced in company matters), but there is no guarantee it will be transferred.

4. Will I have to give oral evidence at court as part of my application for permission to remain a director?

Whilst technically you might have to give oral evidence, it is highly unlikely. Applications are ordinarily dealt with on the basis of the written Affidavit evidence only.

The Secretary of State has the power to give evidence himself on any relevant points or call witnesses as part of its job to protect the public interest. However, this rarely happens. Any issues are often ironed out in correspondence beforehand.

5. What happens if I simply carry on as a director without permission?

If you act in breach of your director disqualification order, the penalties can be severe.

  • (i) It can lead to imprisonment for up to 2 years and / or a fine [section 13 of the Company Director Disqualification Act 1986].
  • (ii) You can be held personally liable for the Company’s debts for the time you acted in breach of the disqualification order [section 15 of the Company Director Disqualification Act 1986].

The Secretary of State does check up on disqualified directors. They can contact staff, suppliers and other people to determine whether a disqualified director is still essentially running a business.

6. What constitutes acting in breach of a director disqualification order?


  • a. Acting as director.
  • b. Acting as receiver of property
  • c. In any way whether directly or indirectly becomes concerned or takes part in the promotion, formation or management of a company.



7. What happens if someone else acts on my behalf as a director?

8. What happens if I didn’t realise I was taking part in the management of a company?

9. Can my disqualification as director be limited to certain areas / tasks?

10. Do I need a separate application for permission or can I do it as part of my trial in the main director disqualification proceedings?

11. What can I do if I am not sure if my current job means I am acting in contravention of a director disqualification order?

12. How long after being disqualified as a director must I make an application for permission to remain a director of an existing company?

13. What can I do if I can’t get my application heard within 21 days?

14. What happens if my leave application is refused?

15. What does the court consider when granting leave applications?

16. Does it matter if I have previously been involved in a number of insolvent companies?

17. Will the court impose any conditions on me when granting permission to remain a director?

18. What happens if I breach a condition of my director disqualification order?

19. I am not involved in a Business any more. Does it really matter how long I am disqualified for?

20. What happens if the breach of condition is not foreseeable?

21. Can I remain a sole director of my business when seeking permission?

22. Can the conditions in my order for permission be varied at a later date?

23. Can the court grant permission for me to be a director for a limited period only?

24. Is there a requirement to demonstrate a “need” to be a director in the business when seeking permission?

25. Does it matter how long I have been disqualified for previously?

26. At what period of disqualification does seeking permission become impossible?

27. What if my conduct running other companies before my disqualification was fine?

28. In how much detail will the court examine the company of which I want permission to be a director of?

29. Is my director disqualification public knowledge?

30. Can the court order me to pay money back to the creditors of the company as a condition of granting me permission to be a director?

31. Will the court consider a person’s general character and reputation when deciding whether to grant permission to be a director?

32. Is my age or state of health relevant at all when applying for permission to be a director?

33. Will it matter if I have “admitted” my guilt by way of an undertaking?

34. Is it relevant that I would be disadvantaged having to trade as a sole trader or in a partnership?

35. What if my suppliers will only trade with a limited company?

36. What if the banks will only lend to a company?

At Francis Wilks & Jones we have a wealth of experience dealing with permission applications. We have the record for the most permissions given in a single application – something which has stood the test of time for over a decade. We have the expertise, tactical skills and commercial understanding to help you through what can sometimes be a difficult area of the law.