Insolvency: Covid-19 sends shockwaves through the liquidity of the UK

Mar 25, 2020

The UK economy cannot ignore the financial shockwaves it feels as a direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic 2019-20. The UK Government has rolled out daily and unprecedented economic measures aimed at supporting and financing struggling business given the effect of this unprecedented economic climate. We recognise that in some cases, this simply will not be enough.

Sadly, there remains an inescapable reality that even with Government assistance, companies have already become financially vulnerable. In reality this is likely to lead to many firms being unable to pay their debts and facing insolvency.

For you and for your company: we can advise on all of your insolvency concerns.

We are here to support all businesses, large or small. We have a team of legal professionals experienced in insolvency law ready, able and willing to advise on all aspects of insolvency law from commencing the selected formal insolvency process to advising directors of insolvent companies on their duties and responsibilities and potential personal liability.

We can also work with business recovery professionals to find the best solution for your business, including Administration, Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVL) or liquidation.

You may now require advice on the impact of cash flow concerns on your own business, or the effect of insolvent company’s inability to pay your debts. In either circumstance, not only shall we advise you on your legal rights and obligations, but on possible mechanisms of negotiation available to you to seek to avoid insolvency or to settle debts, where possible.

We have also built strong working relationships with a number of business recovery and specialist insolvency professionals who provide advice on rescuing business in one way or another, or where impossible, implement the procedures necessary to wind up companies to recover assets and release cash. Where necessary, we can introduce you to our contacts where this will benefit you and your business.

Directors’ responsibilities

If a company is close to becoming insolvent, it is important that directors are aware of potential issues that may arise and of their personal duties as directors of the company. 

Once an insolvent company goes beyond the point of recovery, the directors responsibility shifts from being to the company and its shareholders to its creditors.  The company must cease business immediately and safeguard its assets for the benefit of its creditors. 

If a director continues to trade beyond unavoidable insolvency and its creditors increase, the directors can be held personally liable.

Similarly, if solvency is in doubt and the company disposes or otherwise deals with its assets for less than their true value, or no consideration at all, the directors could be held personally liable to restore any dissipated company assets for the benefit of the creditors.

If any creditors have been preferred prior to the commencement of a formal insolvency process, the court can make an order to set aside the transaction or to order the company to restore the company to the position it would have been in had that preference not been given.    

Insolvency practitioners: we can assist you with all aspects of contentious insolvency.

Undoubtedly, insolvency practitioners will be feeling the impact of the current economic climate on their already burgeoning workloads. As above, we work closely with reputable insolvency practitioners while we focus heavily on our Partner-led specialism in contentious insolvency.

We are ready and available to assist you with all of your legal concerns and to progress your contentious insolvency matters quickly and professionally.

We are experts in contentious and non-contentious insolvency work.

We are in times of crisis. We must all work together to achieve the best possible outcomes, in the most challenging of times. Where the economy is now rapidly adapting to an unprecedented crisis, it is important to plan for all commercial eventualities as soon as possible. Our expert insolvency lawyers are available to assist all commercial entities, individuals and insolvency practitioners, large or small, with all aspects on insolvency.

We are open for business as usual and available to assist with any insolvency issues you may have.

If you are concerned about the impact the current economic climate will have on your liquidity, or should like assistance as an insolvency practitioner in contentious elements to your own work, please contact our Insolvency expert Adrian Taylor on 01276 854 922 or adrian.taylor@herrington-carmichael.co.uk 

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.















Adrian Taylor

Adrian Taylor

Partner, Head of Disputes and Claims



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