Please note: The advice contained in this blog is correct as of 02/04/2020. Due to the developing nature of the coronavirus situation and subsequent government guidelines, advice is likely to change. While we will make every effort to keep our blogs up to date, we would always advise you speak to a solicitor for specific advice.

If you have a Winding Up Petition or Bankruptcy Petition pending at this time, or were contemplating issuing one, this note summarises how the courts are dealing with Petitions in light of the recent government guidance to the public and practice directions for the legal professions.

Those who are familiar with the operation of the Courts will recognise that court buildings with multiple barristers, solicitors, court staff and Court Judges present in close proximity is clearly not consistent with current social distancing guidelines.

When the Insolvency and Companies Court in London heard cases for the first time since restrictions were imposed on Wednesday 25 March 2020, notwithstanding the Practice Direction on remote working, it was not considered possible to effectively deal with this this type of claim remotely.

As such Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Mullen sitting in London adjourned off all 306 Winding Up Petition hearings, in batches to dates 12 – 19 weeks in the future.  With no obvious online/remote substitute for the general insolvency lists it is likely that the same approach will be taken in coming weeks, as it is with other forms of court enforcement processes including Possession claims.

As for future petitions, it is being reported that the Government is considering a moratorium on the issuing of Petitions to assist struggling businesses and individuals in the face of the impact of Coronavirus which has been reported by City AM and Sky News.

Those contemplating issuing a Petition may wish to do so promptly to avoid the risk of a moratorium biting that prevents further Petitions being issued.

For further advice on insolvency and debt recovery, please get in touch with the team at Farleys who will be happy to assist. Contact us by email or call 0845 287 0939.