Kevin McLeod
Written By Kevin McLeod
Licensed Insolvency Practitioner
July 19th, 2023

The official receiver is a civil servant employed by the Insolvency Service to act as the provisional liquidator in cases of compulsory liquidation. In voluntary liquidations, an insolvency practitioner is appointed by a company’s directors or creditors to act on their behalf. However, if a company has been petitioned by a creditor and wound up by the court, it is the official receiver who must assume this role.

Once the official receiver has been notified of the liquidation by the court, they then effectively become the insolvency practitioner. They are responsible for administering the initial stages of the liquidation. This includes:

  • Taking control of the company’s affairs;
  • Protecting the company’s assets for the benefit of its creditors;
  • Reporting on the conduct of company directors;
  • Examining why the company became insolvent.

The official receiver will interview company directors, examine the financial records of the company and make background enquiries with third parties like banks and accountants. They will also report to company creditors and shareholders with details of the company’s assets and liabilities.

When it comes to realising the company’s assets, the official receiver may consult the creditors about appointing an insolvency practitioner in their place. The OR will only ask the Secretary of State to appoint a private insolvency practitioner if the additional skills and resources are required. If no private insolvency practitioner is necessary, the official receiver will complete the liquidation of the company.

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