Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015: Extension of Administration and Simplification of Insolvency Process

This is part of a series of posts on the Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Bill that has now come into force on 26 March 2015 following the grant of Royal Assent and is now the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (“the Act”).
This series of posts is intended to update the readers of the key changes, which should radically transform the transparency of the marketplace as regards the operation, control, ownership and risk associated to limited companies in the UK.
We have not addressed all of the issues described in our previous posts, to avoid duplication, but would welcome any queries from the reader in this respect.
The commencement of these changes is different dependant on which part of the Act is being reviewed (Section 164 of the Act defines commencement) and we have highlighted below the relevant commencement dates. Where we below stated “to be announced” this means it has not yet come into force and will commence upon the making of a Commencement Order.
The changes as set out below will be extremely important to all directors, companies and individuals with business in the future and it cannot be emphasised too strongly how important it is that you are prepared for these proposed changes. At Francis Wilks & Jones we can advise on all matters subject to these posts.
Together with Parliament’s wish to have more transparency in the economic market place, the attempt to simplify and reduce the time spent on matters by Administrators and Liquidators has been implemented at Sections 122-126 of the Act. This includes the abolition of the requirements to hold meetings in both individual and corporate insolvency proceedings and the removal of the requirement to circulate various notices and seek creditors approval as regards specific matters (the previous blog refers).
Please note that these changes have not yet commenced, and will commence once the appropriate Commencement Order has been passed.
However, from 26 May 2015 the provisions at Sections 127 – 132 of the Act will come into force to enable an Administrator’s term of office to be extended to one year (until then the maximum extension period was 6 months), the Administrator will be able to pay unsecured creditors out of Administration (where previously it can to be converted to a liquidation before this could occur) and a creditor claim for a “small debt” does not require any formal proof to be filed (as this can often incur expensive administrative costs where numerous small creditors are proving, which may outweigh the value of determining their claim).
The changes to creditors with “small debts” will also apply to bankruptcy proceedings.
At Francis Wilks & Jones we have comprehensive experience in dealing with such matters, either seeking extensions on behalf of appointed Administrators, provide assistance to directors and advising creditors.