How to Make a Complaint about an Insolvency Practitioner

In the last 12 months, the number of complaints made against insolvency practitioners has risen by 25 percent. According to official figures from the Insolvency Service, there has been a steep rise in complaints about practitioners since the Insolvency Practitioners’ Complaints Gateway was launched in 2013. This provided the first single point of entry for complaints about insolvency practitioners.

Given this rise, we think it’s essential debtors, creditors, employees and directors or shareholders of a company understand exactly how to lodge a complaint if the service they receive from an insolvency practitioner falls below acceptable standards. Here is the first part of our simple guide.

1. Who can complain about an insolvency practitioner?

People who commonly complain about the conduct of authorised insolvency practitioners include debtors, creditors, employees and directors or shareholders of insolvent companies. However, anyone who is dissatisfied in regards to the professional work of an insolvency practitioner in the UK is entitled to make a complaint.

2. What is the Complaints Gateway and who does it cover?

The Complaints Gateway is the Insolvency Service’s single entry point system for complaints about Insolvency Practitioners. The Gateway covers all complaints against insolvency practitioners across the full range of insolvency procedures.

A complaint can be made against insolvency practitioners authorised by any of the following bodies or the Secretary of State:

  • Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (CAI)

These Recognised Professional Bodies account for 92 percent of all insolvency practitioners. Insolvency practitioners authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Law Society Scotland are not currently covered by the Complaints Gateway.

Complaints can be directed against insolvency practitioners acting as office holders such as liquidators, administrators and trustees in bankruptcy; or supervisors of a company and individual voluntary arrangements and trust deeds.

3. What complaints are not covered by the Gateway?

The Gateway cannot intervene in matters of a commercial or legal matter. Only the courts can adjudicate on matters relating to insolvency law or commercial disputes and disagreements. However, we would always recommend seeking independent and professional advice before applying to the courts.

4. Can you complain about an order made by the court?

No. If you are dissatisfied with a court order such as a bankruptcy or a winding-up order against your company, your only form of recourse is to seek legal advice or approach the court directly. At this point, the procedure you need to follow to have the matter reconsidered will be explained. However, there are statutory time limits for appealing against orders or findings of the court.

5. Can you complain about an insolvency practitioner’s expenses or remuneration?

Yes. The Gateway will deal with complaints about an insolvency practitioner’s remuneration package, but only if the IP is guilty of misconduct by failing to seek authorisation for the fees, or charging fees over and above the level they received authorisation for.

If there is no misconduct involved, the level of remuneration an insolvency practitioner receives is a commercial matter and cannot be considered by the Insolvency Service’s Gateway.

6. Can you make a complaint if you’ve already had a complaint considered by the appropriate authorising body?

If a complaint has already been fully assessed and considered by the authorising body, then unless there is new information relating to your complaint, you cannot bring the complaint to the Gateway.

Take a look at part two of our guide for more about the insolvency practitioner complaints procedure or you can go to the Insolvency Service website by clicking here. Alternatively, if you are considering liquidation, and have concerns about the outcome or the implications to you personally call, 0800 074 6757 to speak to a member of our team.