Wind up a company that owes you money

1. Overview

You can apply to the court to ‘wind up’ a company if it can’t pay its debts of more than £750.

Your application to the court is known as a ‘winding-up petition’. If successful, the company will be put into liquidation.

You may not get all or any of the money you’re owed – a debt specialist (eg a solicitor) can help you work out the best way to recover a debt and send your petition.

How to petition the court

  1. Prove the company can’t pay its debts.
  2. Fill in the forms and give them to the court.


The fees are:

  • £280 – court fees
  • £1250 – petition deposit (to manage the ‘winding-up’)

You might be able to get the fees back if the company can afford to repay them.

Pay using cash, postal orders or a building society, bank or solicitor’s cheque made payable to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.

Scottish companies

There are different rules on winding up a company in Scotland.

2. Prove the company can’t pay its debts

To wind up a company you must be owed £750 or more.

You must provide evidence to the court that you’re owed this money by the company.

Evidence can be any of the following:

  • a certificate of personal service or substituted service to confirm that you gave a statutory demand (a request for payment) to the company
  • a bailiff’s statement showing that the bailiff couldn’t recover enough assets to pay the debt (in cases where you got a court judgment)

The court may also accept other proof, eg that the company’s debts are more than its assets.


3. Apply

You must send the right forms to the court before they can deal with your petition.


Fill in form 4.2 and make 3 copies.

Read the guidance for help filling in the form.

You’ll also need to provide a statement of truth confirming the details of your petition. Read guidance about what to write in your statement.

Where to send the petition

You must look at the company’s information on the Companies House website.

If the company has a ‘paid up share capital’ of more than £120,000, send the petition to the High Court.

The High Court
Companies Court
7 Rolls Buildings
Fetter Lane

If the company’s ‘paid up share capital’ is less than £120,000, use thecourt finder to find a court dealing with insolvency. You must use the court nearest to the company’s registered office.

Find the address of the registered office on the Companies House register.

After you apply

You must:

  • send a copy of the petition to the company (called ‘serving’ a petition) at its registered office
  • provide a certificate of service to the court confirming that the petition has been served on the company

The day after you serve the petition, send a copy to the relevant liquidator, administrative receiver, administrator or supervisor if the company is involved in:

  • voluntary liquidation
  • administrative receivership
  • an administration order
  • a voluntary arrangement


4. The court hearing

If the court accepts your petition, they’ll arrange a date for a hearing.

Announce the hearing

  1. Place an advert in The Gazette at least 7 working days before the hearing saying the petition has been served.
  1. Send a copy of the advertisement and a certificate of complianceto the court at least 5 working days before the hearing.
  1. Give a list of everyone who will be attending to the court by 4:30pm on the day before the hearing.

The hearing

If the petition is successful, the court will issue a winding-up order. This means the company will be closed and its assets sold to pay its debts.

The court will put an official receiver in charge of the liquidation. They’ll start the process of turning the company’s assets into money that can be used to pay the company’s debts.

Other creditors can register to claim the money they’re owed.


Author: MixoBiz

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