How to Issue a Winding Up Petition

What is a winding up petition?

A winding up order, also known as compulsory liquidation, is a formal legal action initiated by the court. It compels a company to liquidate its assets and halt operations. These orders typically stem from winding up petitions filed by creditors who, having tried to recover owed funds, seek court intervention.

When granted by the high court, a winding up order declares the company insolvent. This is due to its failure to meet financial obligations to creditors. The closure of the business can have significant consequences for shareholders and directors. Typically, an Official Receiver is appointed as the liquidator, though a licensed insolvency practitioner may assume the role later.

Expert Commercial Law offers access to a specialised panel of experienced solicitors proficient in handling winding up orders in the UK. For further details and consultation with our legal professionals, please contact us today.

Winding up petitions are typically authorised by a court under specific circumstances related to a company’s financial distress and incapacity to fulfil commitments. Companies and individuals may apply to the court to wind up a company for various reasons, including:

Unpaid Debts:

The primary cause often involves a company’s failure to pay its debts. When a company remains indebted to creditors without satisfactory arrangements, leading to unpaid debts, creditors may resort to filing a winding up petition to prompt court intervention.


Another prevalent reason is the company’s insolvency. This means that its liabilities surpass its assets, rendering it incapable of meeting debt obligations as they arise. Insolvency significantly contributes to the acceptance of winding up petitions.

Non-compliance with Statutory Demands:

Creditors can issue statutory demands demanding debt repayment. If the company neglects to adhere to these demands within a specified timeframe, creditors can utilise this non-compliance as a basis for initiating a winding up petition.

Inability to Satisfy a Judgment Debt:

When a company holds a court judgment requiring payment of a monetary sum, but fails to fulfil the obligation, the creditor may seek a winding up order.

Public Interest:

In select instances, the court may grant a winding up order if it deems such action beneficial to the public interest. This could stem from fraudulent conduct, misconduct, or other circumstances warranting the company’s closure.

Failure to Challenge the Petition:

If a company doesn’t respond to a winding up petition on time, the court may approve the petition without a defence.

Filing a winding up petition is a big legal decision. It needs a careful look at the company’s finances.

How to issue a winding up petition

Initiating a winding up petition in the UK entails a structured legal process. Here’s a broad outline of how to issue a winding up petition and wind up a company:

Debt Assessment:

Creditors must first evaluate the debt owed by the company, ensuring legal compliance and confirming the owed amount. They may consider proposing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) promptly.

Statutory Demand:

Typically, creditors kick off the process by serving a formal statutory demand to the debtor company. This demand specifies the debt amount and sets a timeframe, usually 21 days, for payment or negotiation. A Statutory Demand is usually served by a Process Server.

Non-compliance with Demand:

If the debtor company doesn’t pay the debt after getting the statutory demand, the creditor can go to court. The creditor can then file a winding up petition.

Petition Preparation:

A winding up petition is a legal document. It contains information about the debt and the creditor’s claim. It also includes the reasons for requesting the company to be wound up. It must comply with the rules set out in the Insolvency Rules 2016.

Petition Issuance:

The winding up petition is then formally submitted to the relevant court. Typically, this occurs in the High Court in the UK, with certain exceptions where county courts may handle specific cases. The petitioner is responsible for the associated court fees.

Petition Service:

Upon issuance, the winding up petition must be served to the debtor company’s registered office, ensuring official notification.

Petition Advertised in the Gazette:

The creditor is obligated to advertise the winding up petition in the London Gazette. This public notice serves to inform interested parties, including creditors and shareholders, about the ongoing petition.

Court Hearing:

The court schedules a hearing to investigate the petition and evaluate the company’s conduct. The debtor company gains the opportunity to respond and present its case, especially concerning debt disputes.

Winding Up Order:

If the court determines that the debt is valid, and the company is unable to meet its financial obligations, it may issue and present a winding up order. This order places the company into compulsory liquidation, leading to its removal from Companies House records. The company’s bank accounts and assets will be frozen. They will then be distributed to pay off debts against the company.

Why choose Expert Commercial Law?

If you are wondering how to issue a winding up petition in the UK, then our panel of solicitors can assist you.

Our panel have the experience and expertise required to take on your case. Each solicitor is vetted before being allowed onto our panel. We only select the best in the business. All of our solicitor firms are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Our solicitors also help with other commercial claims, such as breach of contract and CCJ removal.

Please note we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case on to a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm.


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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 


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