Insolvency: Ombudsman

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Kelvin Hopkins Kelvin Hopkins Independent, Luton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if will amend the insolvency legislation to provide for an independent ombudsman to advise on disputes.

Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The insolvency of a party will not necessarily prevent the use of existing dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration. If, however, insolvency related remedies are sought, for example in relation to claims against directors, preference claims, claims to set aside transactions at undervalue, steps will need to be undertaken to ensure appropriate authority is provided by the court.

Insolvency practitioners deal with a number of conflicting interests and their authorising bodies cannot intervene in, or adjudicate upon, disputes of a commercial or legal nature. Ultimately, it is for the Courts to adjudicate upon commercial disputes and disagreements about the application of insolvency law.

Where there are concerns about the actions of an insolvency practitioner, these should in the first instance be raised directly with the practitioner. If this fails to resolve the matter, then a complaint can be made through the Insolvency Service’s Complaints Gateway at: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-insolvency-practitioner. In June 2013, we established this new gateway to provide a single point of entry for complaints about insolvency practitioners following collaborative discussions between the Insolvency Service and the bodies that authorise insolvency practitioners. The Gateway handles circa 700 complaints annually.

Given the existing options for resolving disputes, I am not proposing to make any changes at this time.

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