Insolvency (Scotland) Rules: Statutory Declarations

An aim of the new Rules is to modernise the language of the statute. One of the terms that we wave goodbye to is affidavit, and in its place comes statutory declaration. The language might not be ancient Latin, but it’s still an old and well-established piece of statute that sits behind it, stemming as it does from the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.

A Statutory Declaration is a statement made in lieu of an oath and the Act contains a prescribed form of Statutory Declaration. A Statutory Declaration is included within the current standard form Notices of Appointment of Administrators and therefore a similar approach to the various documents which require a Statutory Declaration in terms of the New Rules seems reasonable. The following wording (amended to reflect the terminology used in the relevant Rule) can be inserted into the relevant document.

I [ ] do solemnly and sincerely declare that [the information provided in [this notice/this statement of affairs/statement of concurrence] is,] [these accounts are,] to the best of my knowledge and belief, [true][accurate and complete],

AND I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.

Declared at _________________________________

Signed _____________________________________

This ______________ day of ___________________ 20

before me __________________________________

A Notary Public or Justice of the Peace

It appears that a solicitor in Scotland is not authorised to take oaths as per s18 of the 1835 Act, and therefore any statutory declaration should be signed in front of a notary public or justice of the peace. If any doubt as to your requirements, take independent legal advice.

How we can assist you

We’ve been examining in detail the new legal requirements and their practical implications. We can offer bespoke in-house training, Rules-compliant document packs and checklists, and compliance support.

For further information about how we can assist you in adjusting to the changes brought about by the new Rules, contact enquiries@insolvencysupportservices.com

Insolvency (Scotland) Rules: Nomination Process

The new Rules will come into force on Saturday 6 April 2019. We will be keeping you posted where we can on interpretations and issues in the period of their introduction.

First up, we’ve walked through the nomination process to have a look at the timescales involved where an interim liquidator, appointed on 8 April 2019, seeks and obtains one nomination as liquidator, and goes back to the creditors for a decision by way of deemed consent. We have assumed that the interim liquidator in this example issues notices at the last possible occasion, and uses 2nd class post wherever possible. The table below outlines what we think that process looks like.

Event Date or deadline Statutory Reference Narrative
Winding Up Order (WUO) Monday 08/04/2019 S138 Must as soon as practicable seek nomination within 28 days beg within WUO.  Therefore 28 days in this example expires on Sunday 5 May. It’s possible that that RPBs may take view on an  IL always sending out at last possible time given s138 requires nominations as soon as practicable.  Can ignore Easter bank holidays, since requirement is 28 days (not business days) from WUO.
Last date for posting report and nomination request: using 2nd class post 29/4/2019 R1.38 Deemed to have been delivered 4 business days after the date of sending.

 

Last date report and notice can be received by creditors Friday 3/5/2019 Report and nomination notice received by creditors on Friday (since Sunday  not a business day)
Nominations received from Creditors Mon 13/5/2019 R5.22(5) Has to be received within 5 business days of the date of the notice issued requesting nominations (if they are sending it 2nd class, they would have to post it Tues 7th May latest (since Mon 6th May is a Bank Holiday) to ensure received by IL in time)
Decision date expiry Monday 3/6/2019 R5.22(9) The decision date has to be no later than 21 days after the date of receiving nominations – nomination date 13/5/2019 + 21 days = Monday 3 June 2019 (can ignore bank holiday on 27 May since Rules refer to 21 days and not business days).
Therefore, latest date for issue of circular, giving a minimum of 14 days’ notice, to include 2 business days for 1st  class.  (note posting 2nd class here doesn’t give enough clear notice) Wed

15/5/2019 deemed to be delivered Fri  17/5/2019 at latest)

R5.22(10) Giving at least 14 days’ notice + 4 business days for 2nd class post not to include the date of delivery and the date of the decision. (Rule 1.3)  In effect, on the next business day following the expiry of the nomination period, using 2nd class post doesn’t allow 14 clear days’ notice of the decision to be issued – since Rule 1.3 defines clear days not to include the date of sending or the date of the event.  On this occasion, looks like you are going to have to use first class post.
Last date for creditors to exercise 10:10:10 objection and request a physical meeting Fri 24/5/2019 R8.8 Creditors may within 5 business days from the date of delivery of the notice require a physical meeting to be held. The convenor then has 3 business days from the threshold for requests being received to send notice in accordance with the Rules, giving creditors 14 days’ notice of the meeting. That would have to take into account the bank holiday on Monday 27 May.
Latest date for decision (the backstop) Thu 6/6/2019 R5.22 (7) where a decision is sought under r5.22(6) the decision date must be not more than 60 days from the date of the winding up order.

Most of you will have diary systems and prompts to assist you with the planning of your processes. However, this exercise demonstrates that you can’t leave everything to the last minute and issue by 2nd class post. You simply won’t meet your deadlines.

This is a good example of why putting everything on a website going forward will be advantageous, and understanding the implications of delivery (rather than sending).

How we can assist you

We’ve been examining in detail the new legal requirements and their practical implications. We can offer bespoke in-house training, Rules-compliant document packs and checklists, and compliance support.

For further information about how we can assist you in adjusting to the changes brought about by the new Rules, contact enquiries@insolvencysupportservices.com

MVLs in Scotland – the law of unintended consequences?

Eileen Maclean has been hot on the heels of the new Insolvency (Scotland) Rules and suggests there could be risks for liquidators and members in MVLs.

Scotland’s new corporate insolvency Rules, the Insolvency (Scotland) (Company Voluntary Arrangement and Administration) Rules 2018 and the Insolvency (Scotland) (Receivership and Winding up) Rules 2018 (the new Scottish Rules) come into force on 6 April 2019.

Since their publication, we have been poring over them. We’ve had a good look at MVLs under the new Rules and highlight some potential issues in this article – not all of them necessarily intended by the Rules’ creators. No doubt as issues arise and are considered, practice and interpretation will develop. But as things stand, what are we faced with?

Transitional and savings procedures

The new Scottish Rules apply to cases open at 6 April 2019, save for any express transitional or savings provisions. Very few apply to MVLs.

Part 4 of the current 1986 Scottish Rules only applies to MVLs as specified in Schedule 2. Part 7 of the new Scottish Rules states that it ‘applies in winding up’. No definition of ‘winding up’ is given, but some Rules in Part 7 clearly refer to MVL, CVL or WUC. Generally, therefore, Part 7 applies to all processes, solvent or insolvent, voluntary or compulsory.

What does that mean in practice? Statutory interest will apply from 6 April onwards, when currently it doesn’t, to both existing and future cases. Statutory processes that previously did not apply to MVLs, eg accounting periods, will do so going forward and, in the absence of any savings provisions, for existing cases too.

Creditor claims

Where a liquidator in an MVL is dealing with creditor claims, the accounting period process specific to Scotland now applies, with all its attendant deadlines. The first accounting period is six months and cannot be shortened. Part 7, Chapter 4 Claims by Creditors now applies (which makes sense – why have a different basis of calculation in an MVL). R7.32 Payment of Dividends states that on the expiry of the appeal period (or the final determination of the last such appeal) the liquidator must pay to the creditors the dividends in accordance with the scheme of division. The small debts provisions at R.34 apply.

Any liquidator dealing with a claim now must do so within the context of the Rules. Claims by creditors must be submitted in terms of R7.16 not later than eight weeks before the end of an accounting period. The liquidator adjudicates per R7.19 and must, not later than four weeks before end of the period, accept or reject the claim. Creditors then have a right to appeal to the court not later than 14 days before the end of the period. These time limits can be varied by the court per R7.31(2)(c )(ii) (there won’t be a liquidation committee in an MVL). Alternatively, the liquidator could apply to court to set an earlier last date for claims per S153 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

The way the new Rules apply, it will in practice shift the onus onto the directors to make sure that creditors are paid pre-appointment.

While there might not be many MVLs where the liquidator is dealing with creditor claims, there will be some. And the way the new Rules apply, it will in practice shift the onus onto the directors to make sure that creditors are paid pre-appointment.

Statutory interest

R7.27 Order of Distribution imports statutory interest into MVLs where currently there is none, albeit the rate in Scotland drops to 8% from 15% on 6 April 2019. It makes sense that statutory interest applies consistently to MVLs UK-wide, and the approach to minimising statutory interest on corporation tax is back to being a UK one. Again, there are no savings provisions here, so interest now appears to apply in relation to MVLs open as at 6 April 2019. On the bright side, future debts provision for discounting at the official rate back to the date of liquidation is now included to all winding ups in R7.22.

What this potentially means in practice

  • Directors must ensure that all outstanding liabilities of the company are paid pre-appointment and, if not, members need to understand that there is a potential statutory interest liability (of up to six months).
  • Possible court application post-appointment per S153/R7.31 to deal with claims in shorter timescales than those set out in the Rules.
  • Unless there is active management of the timescales in R7.19, creditors will have to wait to get paid, assuming no appeal to an adjudication, until no earlier than 14 days before the end of the first accounting period. That entitles them to approximately 5.5 months of statutory interest as a result. That will be material in some cases, not in others. The cost of making an application to court may be worth it in some cases, but not in others.
  • Where you have a significant exposure to statutory interest in an ongoing MVL, consider paying creditors before 6 April 2019 (and use s153 accordingly).

What was previously a straightforward process now seems overly complicated, and rather goes against the spirit and intention of the new Rules.

All of this raises issues of risk for MVL liquidators and additional cost for members, where creditors have not been paid in advance of appointment. What was previously a straightforward process now seems overly complicated, and rather goes against the spirit and intention of the new Rules.

Insolvency Support Services have been examining the new legal requirements and their practical implications at a series of courses, which we can offer as bespoke in-house training, and will be providing document packs and compliance support.

For further information about how Insolvency Support Services can assist you in adjusting to these changes, contact: enquiries@insolvencysupportservices.com

 

First published in the February 2019 edition of RECOVERY News and reproduced with the permission of R3 and GTI Media.

We’re speaking at R3’s Series of SPG Technical Reviews

Insolvency Support Services’ Eileen Maclean and Alison Curry are looking forward to speaking at R3’s series of SPG Technical Reviews, specifically designed for insolvency and restructuring professionals in small and medium-sized practices, in the next few months.

Their practical, focused sessions will cover the new Scottish Insolvency Rules, highlighting key changes and differences to the current England and Wales Rules.

Want to know what has changed and why? You can catch Eileen at the R3 SPG Technical Reviews in Birmingham (26 February) and Leeds (30 April) and Alison in London (14 February) and Exeter (9 May).

For more information and to book, click here.

If you need more than an overview and would like to book one of our half day courses on the new Scottish Rules, click here for more information. We’ve also added an extra Edinburgh course on 19 February due to demand. Booking is straightforward: contact Danielle Kelly and the ISS Training courses team on 0845 601 7570 or on courses@insolvencysupportservices.com.

 

Insolvency (Scotland) Rules 2018 – are you ready?

The long-awaited Scottish Rules are here!

Two sets of Rules

Due to the nature of the partially devolved corporate insolvency regime, Scotland’s Rules are found in two pieces of secondary legislation.  The Insolvency (Scotland) (Company Voluntary Arrangement and Administration) Rules 2018 and the Insolvency (Scotland) (Receivership and Winding up) Rules 2018 (“the new Scottish Rules”) were laid last month and will bring Scotland’s corporate insolvency regime broadly in line with England and Wales from 6 April 2019. Are you ready?

Decisions, decisions…

Perhaps the most significant change is the restriction placed upon an office holder’s ability to hold a physical meeting of creditors. Decisions of creditors are to be obtained using either deemed consent (where this is available) or by one of a number of prescribed decision procedures: correspondence, virtual meeting or electronic voting, with physical meetings available only where requested by the requisite number or value of creditors (the 10/10/10 rule).

Practitioners South of the Border have got to grips with these new requirements over the last two years, but not without some teething pains. Concerns remain about verifying the identity of a participant in a virtual meeting, and the potential implications of a person being excluded because of a technological failure. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it seems removing the requirement of a physical meeting has not increased creditor engagement.  But the good news for practitioners dealing with Scottish appointments from 6 April 2019 onwards, is that a lot of creditors and stakeholders will be familiar with the decision-making process already.

Effects of the new Rules

  • Consolidation: There have been 32 years of amending statutory instruments since the existing Rules came into force in 1986 and the new Scottish Rules contain impressive lists of revocations. In theory, the new Rules should be easier to use, once bedded in, though there will undoubtedly be a steep learning curve at the outset.  Have your destination tables to hand!
  • Future proofing: By describing what needs to go in a notice, report or return, rather than prescribing a particular form, the new Scottish Rules aim to reduce the need for statutory forms and amending statute for alteration. This approach is intended to provide more flexibility, though has resulted in the inclusions in the Rules of lengthy lists of standard contents. Your standard documents and notices will need to be reviewed and amended.
  • Modernisation: The language has been modernised and made gender neutral, in accordance with current drafting practice. The definitions applied by the Rules mirror those used in the England & Wales Rules broadly although there are some small (and noteworthy) variations. Where possible, the new Scottish Rules adopt a “common parts” approach with the aim of reducing repetition and unnecessary divergences between procedures.
  • Cost reduction and improved engagement: Ultimately, the new Rules give effect to the policy changes which resulted from the UK Government’s Red Tape Challenge initiative. Reducing unnecessary meetings, providing for opting out and allowing small claims to be admitted without a statement of claims are all intended to reduce cost and improve creditor engagement.

Remuneration and accounting periods

As those of you dealing with Scottish cases know, the process for obtaining approval for remuneration is distinct from England & Wales and invariably involves the court.  The remuneration approval process will remain largely unaltered, which limits the impact of the decision-making procedures when compared to England & Wales.

A more welcome revision may be the changes to the operation of accounting periods that allow an IP to manage accounting periods without court or committee approval.  The first two six-month accounting periods will remain, but thereafter a practitioner can defer a claim for remuneration without court or committee approval.

Key steps for your practice:

  • Gain familiarity with the new Rules at an early stage – come on one of our courses!
  • Review files for application of transitional and savings provisions
  • Amend document packs to reflect new standard contents – we can assist with packs
  • Consider what form of decision procedure will be appropriate for the size and nature of the cases you administer
  • Consider the benefits / opportunities presented by these changes in terms of cost saving to how you operate

We will be examining the new legal requirements and their practical implications at a series of courses running throughout January and February 2019 and providing document packs and compliance support.

For further information about how ISS may assist you in adjusting to these changes, contact: enquiries@insolvencysupportservices.com

 

INSOLVENCY (SCOTLAND) RULES 2018

The new Insolvency (Scotland) Rules 2018 are finally here!
Due to commence on 6 April 2019, now is the time for familiarisation, planning and preparation. Here’s how we can assist you.