Josiah Hincks Solicitors Business Defence Team can assist you and your business in investigations by the Department for Business Skills and Innovation (BIS).
Companies Investigations Branch Solicitors
BIS carries out its investigations through the Companies Investigation Branch (CIB) and our Business Defence Solicitors are used to dealing with every stage of investigations and legal actions.
CIB typically get involved on a referral from a liquidator or administrator as to the dealings of a Company through its directors. However, they can also be referred by Judges in other civil/criminal matters as well as by members of the general public and other Public Bodies such as HMRC, Trading Standards etc.
CIB’s role is to investigate where they have reasonable suspicion of fraud, serious misconduct or irregularity in a Company’s trading.
Section 447 Companies Act 1985 allows CIB to conduct a civil investigation into a company, and CIB is able to request documents and explanations. This is compulsory and failure to co-operate can lead to contempt proceedings in Court.
If you ever get a CIB investigation, our Business Defence Team can help and provide you with the best advice for you and your business.
While a CIB investigation is private and confidential, in that they do not publically announce such investigations, they can be demanding on your business and may request information from your suppliers and customers. These therefore need to be handled carefully. If you refuse to co-operate, or fail to co-operate fully, CIB can obtain search warrants to enter your premises and search for the information directly.
CIB investigations may sometime only amount to a warning or a fine. However, some more serious investigations can lead to:
- Directors disqualification proceedings
- Police or BIS prosecution
- Closing down of the Company
- Referral to professional bodies for disciplinary matters, eg ICAEW, SRA.
As soon as CIB start any kind of investigation, contact our Business Defence Lawyers and we will be able to protect you and your business as best we can.
Directors Disqualification Solicitors
CIB can refer serious offences to the Insolvency Service who conduct Directors Disqualification Proceedings. These can also occur as a result of a referral from a Liquidator or Administrator. The Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 applies, which is sometimes referred to as CDDA or more commonly DDA, for example as DDA Proceedings.
However, it is imperative that you take the expert advise of our Director Disqualification Solicitors as soon as possible, to ensure that you are properly represented and your account is presented fully.
The first stage will be a pre-action letter from the Insolvency Service. Don’t ignore this – instruct us to respond, in detail, as to why you deny/accept the allegations being made. If Director Disqualification Proceedings are issued, you could be liable for the insolvency Service’s Lawyers costs, which could be substantial. Therefore, it is better to try to deal with any issues before issue.
We will obtain any evidence on which the Insolvency Service are seeking to rely on, and get your side of the story and perhaps even the liquidators view, to assist and advise whether you should contest the DDA claim or look at trying to agree something, by way of Undertakings.
Undertakings in Director Disqualification Proceedings are basically an agreement that you will not act as a Director in a company for a fixed period of time. There are 3 brackets:
The maximum period which a person can be disqualified by way of an Undertaking is 15 years. The minimum period is 2 years. There are 3 distinct “brackets” of disqualification within this range.
- 2-5 years – this is known as the “lower bracket”
- 6-10 years –known as the “middle bracket”
- 11-15 years –known as the “higher bracket”
Our Director Disqualification Solicitors may suggest a meeting with the Insolvency Service so that the issues can be discussed and you can put your view point across.
As soon as you get notice that there is a directors disqualification issue being considered, please contact our Business Defence Solicitors in Leicester, who will be able expertly to assist you in any proceedings.
Other Company / Insolvency Matters
Our expert business defence lawyers can also provide expert legal advice on issues such as:
- Fraudulent Trading (Section 213 Insolvency Act, Section 993 Companies Act, Section 9 Fraud Act)
- Trading while insolvent
- Wrongful trading
- Directors Duties under Companies Act
- Shadow Directors
The Josiah Hincks Solicitors main website also has more information on the types of services we can offer your business.