On the 29th June 2014, the new Practice Direction on Insolvency Proceedings (‘2014 Practice Direction’) came into force. Below, we list some of the main changes made.
The 2014 Practice Direction replaces previous versions of the Practice Direction on Insolvency Proceedings, save for Practice Direction 49B (relating to winding up petitions brought by contributories).
In general, the content required in winding up petitions has been clarified (and indeed, extended), although the changes reflect what is typically common practice when drafting a winding up petition.
A further change is the new section regarding parties applying for an order pursuant to regulation 22(1) of the Financial Markets and Insolvency (Settlement Finality) Regulations 1999. The changes relate to parties participating in a securities settlement system under the Regulations. Any such party bringing an insolvency petition or application must identify the relevant system operator and designating authority, along with contact details for the court to use in giving any notice required pursuant to an order.
With the topic of centre of main interests (or ‘COMI’) becoming an increasing focus within the profession, the 2014 Practice Direction extends the power of office holders in relation to personal insolvency procedures (as well as corporate insolvency procedures, as was the position under the previous Practice Direction) to serve certain applications outside of the jurisdiction, but within the European Union, without the leave of the court. A certificate of service of a statutory demand will also now be required in relation to personal insolvency procedures (replacing the ‘deemed date’ of service).
A practical point to note is that the reference to a ‘Court’ has been clarified – this means the High Court or any County Court hearing centre having jurisdiction. The primary address of the Royal Courts of Justice has been updated to the Rolls Building – to save any embarrassing attendances at the wrong court!
The amendments are relatively minor and the revised Practice Direction took effect with little fanfare – although the changes should be noted by practitioners within the insolvency profession.