HomeSMEs, directors & shareholdersDirector disqualificationRemain a director despite disqualification ban

If you are threatened with disqualification or disqualified already, did you know you can obtain court permission to remain acting as a director? Our team has a 100% success rate in these applications stretching back to 2002. It can help save a career and livelihood.

Applying to remain a director

Many individuals facing a disqualification claim (or already subject to a director ban) believe that this is the end of the line, with no further opportunity to be a director or involved in the management of a company whilst the ban remains in place.

This is not the case.

Section 17 of the CDDA 1986

Section 17 the Company Director Disqualification Act allows an individual to make an application to court to

  • remain as a director of a current business if the ban has not taken effect yet
  • become a director again if already subject to a disqualification order
  • be involved in the management of a business despite being banned.

These are commonly known as “section 17 applications” or “applications for leave”.

100% success rate since 2002

Our success rate in section 17 applications is 100% since 2002.

We also hold the record for the most companies granted permission for one director in a single application – seventeen. And there were a further five companies granted during the course of the disqualification period bringing the total for one client alone to twenty one.

We are proud of our success and it is something we are very keen to maintain. If you instruct FWJ, we will bring all our expertise built up over 20+ years to maximise your chances of success to.

Why would a court allow permission following a disqualification ban?

Disqualification proceedings exist to prevent a repetition of the same behaviour that occurred previously and which lead to the disqualification order in the first place. The idea of disqualification is to:

  • protect the public interest
  • and also act as a deterrent in addition to other legal remedies that ensure directors are transparent in their conduct and dealings

If you can demonstrate to the court that the public will be protected in the future and that there are sufficient safeguards in place – then there is the possibility to obtain leave to remain a director.

Remember – the courts are not looking to punish directors, but to protect the public from what went wrong before, happening again.

When is it best to make an application for permission?

If you are facing disqualification – It is important to consider timings and when to make such an application.

If you are currently a director and want to remain in your position, then timing is very important.

1. Disqualification undertaking stage

If you are thinking of giving a voluntary undertaking to be disqualified, you only have 21 days from giving that undertaking to then resign your directorship.

  • n an ideal world, what you need to do is prepare your application for permission to remain a director, so that it is heard at court within the 21 day period after you sign the undertaking.
  • this way, if permission is granted by the court, you do not have to resign and you can carry on as you were.
  • otherwise you have to completely step back from the business or you would be breaching the terms of the director ban (and this can lead to going to prison).

Our team can help you work through the timings and make sure you do everything you can to ensure a smooth transition.

2. Disqualification at trial

If you are defending the disqualification claim at trial – then it is always sensible to think about what would happen were you to lose that case. For example, if you are disqualified at trial, you normally have 21 days to resign your directorships.

  • careful thought needs to be given about whether you prepare a section 17 application in the background in case you lose the case but need to remain a director.
  • this is a complex question – involving legal argument, evidence and tactics.

Our expert team are well versed in this type of complex application

3. If you are already disqualified

If you are already disqualified but a job role comes up which requires you to be involved in the management of a company or a director, then timing isn’t so important as you are already disqualified. The key here is to make sure the application is in the best shape it can be in before making it.

Process for applying for section 17 court permission

The process itself is relatively straightforward. An application notice needs to be filed at court with supporting witness statement evidence.

  • wowever, it is the content of that evidence that is crucial and this where our expert legal team can help.
  • put bluntly, there is no point going to court unless the evidence is in the best shape possible.
  • the court will not grant these types of orders for permission unless it is completely satisfied the public is properly protected.

As part of the process, we often work with other directors and/or accountants or other third party suppliers to the business is critical

In addition to this, we have expert links with director disqualification barristers who understand the legislation and will make the right representations to Court in order to maximise your chances of success.

Conditions attached to permission granted by the court

If the court grants permission to remain a director, certain restrictions / conditions will be placed on that director. Failure to adhere to these will mean that he director will be in breach of the order and permission will lapse – and they could then liable for acting in breach of the original disqualification ban.

Our team can advise on the conditions and what they mean. Our job as part of the negotiations with the Secretary of State in advance of the hearing is to reduce or remove as many  conditions as possible – so that they are less onerous on the director concerned.

Case Studies

We are proud of our record. Review our case studies and see what we have done for our clients. Or look at some of our case studies below by clicking on the links

Case study 1 helping a director get court permission despite three successive failed companies

Case study 2 helping a director of a logistics company get court permission

Case study 3 helping a director of a dry cleaning company get permission

Case study 4 helping a director get permission for 17 companies in one court application

Case study 5 helping a building construction company director obtain court permission

Case study 6 helping 2 directors obtain court permission

Case study 7 helping a director of an accountancy firm secure court permission

Case study 8 obtaining court permission for a theatre producer

We are the leading firm dealing with these applications. Our success rate since 2002 speaks for itself. Whatever your circumstances we can assist. Don’t settle for second best. Speak to our experts today.

For some real-world examples of the help we have provided previously, you can also browse our director service case studies.

I was delighted by the work done by the team at FWJ and cannot recommend them highly enough. Their legal and tactical knowledge was spot on. I can now continue to grow my business free from the worry of my original disqualification.

A director we defended against a disqualification claim

Key contacts

Douglas McEvoy

Douglas McEvoy


Lefteris Kallou

Lefteris Kallou


Stephen Downie

Stephen Downie


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Case studies

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