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Compulsory Liquidation: Apply to the Court

Check how a director can apply 'directly' to the court for a compulsory liquidation order. Winding up a company means it gets liquidated (wound up) and then stops trading.

COMPULSORY WINDING UP: This type of company liquidation is also called ‘compulsory liquidation’. Before you can wind up a company the court will need to see:

  • That the business is unable to pay its debts of at least £750.
  • That 75% of the company shareholders (by value of shares) agree to the court winding up the company.

Note: To close a company by compulsory liquidation it must carry out the majority of its business in England, Scotland, or Wales. But, the actual base for the business can be anywhere.

How to Apply Directly to the Court

The first step in the process is to download ‘Form Comp 1: Winding-up petition‘. Use this document to apply to the court to close or wind up a company if it cannot pay its debts. Fill in form Comp 1 and send it to the court along with:

  • Form Comp 2 ‘Verification of the petition’ which confirms the details of a petition.
  • The winding-up resolution agreed by the shareholders.

The ‘paid-up share capital’ amount determines where you should send the winding-up petition. You may need to search Companies House register to confirm company paid-up share capitals.

Paid-up Share Capital £120,000 (or more)

You can submit the petition online if the company paid-up share capital is £120,000 or higher. Using HM Courts & Tribunals E-Filing Service means it gets sent to the High Court.

Paid-up Share Capital Less than £120,000

If the capital is under £120,000 you will need to search for your nearest court that deals with bankruptcy.

When you find it, you can submit the form petition online if it happens to be any of these:

  • Admiralty and Commercial Court
  • Chancery Division
  • Companies Court
  • High Court (includes Bankruptcy Court)
  • London Mercantile Court
  • Rolls Building

Note: The petition will need submitting by postal methods if it was not one of these courts.

Fee for Compulsory Liquidation

There are several costs to pay when you apply directly to the court to liquidate a company:

  • £1,600: The fee for submitting the petition.
  • £302: The fee for the court hearing.

The court will respond to you after you apply. They will send you a date for the hearing – providing they accept your petition. There are several steps to take before the court hearing takes place, including:

  • Serving a copy of the petition to the company. You must let the court know you did this by filling in a ‘Certificate of Service form N215‘.
  • Placing a notice in The Gazette at least 7 days before the hearing goes ahead.
  • Sending a copy of the Gazette advert and the Certificate of Service to the court.

Attending the Court Hearing

If you choose to attend the court hearing there is no need for you to give any evidence. But, if you choose not to attend, then your solicitor must go instead.

The court will assign an official receiver if they grant a winding-up order. The main responsibility of the liquidator will be liquidating the company. The court will also send a copy of the winding-up order to the registered office of the company.

Note: The role and responsibilities of a director change after the compulsory winding up of a company.


Liquidate a Company: The key aspects to consider when liquidating your limited company.
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation: CVL involves creditors because the company cannot pay its debts.
Directors after Liquidation: Find out what happens to company directors after appointing a liquidator.
Members’ Voluntary Liquidation: MVL is the members’ agreement to liquidate a solvent company.
What Does a Liquidator Do? A liquidator is the official receiver who conducts the liquidation process.

Compulsory Liquidation: Apply Directly to the Court to Liquidate an Insolvent Company