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Director avoids disqualification after Insolvency Service Investigation

“Neil Davies and his colleagues provided an outstanding service to me; I shall forever be indebted to him and his firm.”

Director Disqualification investigations by the Insolvency Service can be lengthy and stressful, from the moment that their letter lands, notifying the director of their intention to investigate. In this case, our client, a director of several other profitable businesses with roles in public offices was faced with a very serious situation, which could not only end up in director disqualification but also result in serious reputational damage.

Neil Davies, partner at NDP and a member of the Advisory Board to the leading text on Director Disqualification law and practice, ‘Mithani on Directors’ Disqualification’, took the case on and guided it to a successful conclusion, much to the relief of our client.

Our client takes up the story

My situation began towards the end of 2020. After losing my company of over 20 years due to numerous issues including the global pandemic and thinking that was the end of a nightmare, a bigger nightmare for me was about to begin.

The liquidation of my company led to a very serious complaint being made to the Insolvency Service by a Government Agency with whom my company had contracted for a number of years. This inevitably led to an investigation into my conduct as a Director of the closed business. When the Insolvency Service’s letter landed, in early 2021, my heart sank and I immediately realised that I needed to protect myself. As the director of several other businesses plus roles in public offices, with a high profile in the local area and often appearing on mainstream media, I was immediately worried about the possible reputational ramifications of the situation I was about to face.

I reached out to a colleague who immediately recommended Neil Davies and his firm. The recommendation came from someone Neil had supported historically and proclaimed them to be the best in the business in relation to Director Disqualification matters.“

We quickly got to grips with the case

“Upon reaching out to Neil Davies, in circumstances I had not faced before and possibly at the lowest ebb I have ever been, Neil was extremely quick in arranging to see me. My case was very serious and involved extensive materials that Neil set about collating in a very swift but also calm manner. He quickly reviewed my initial questionnaire that I was required to complete for the Insolvency Service, and after extensive professional discussions, he agreed to support me and fight for me.

At our first meeting I was a bit of a wreck. I was grateful that Neil began the process of providing as much reassurance as he could. He explained all aspects of the investigation to me, so that I knew what was coming and what I had to do from the outset. He maintained that although we might have some hurdles to overcome, I should hold my nerve, as he would navigate us through the journey. That positive attitude helped rebuild my confidence and self-belief. I had been shattered by my situation; beyond anything I can articulate properly. I was sad, angry, afraid, concerned, bewildered and uncertain. Neil helped me to be resilient and focus on the task ahead.” 

The Insolvency Service’s investigation was an onslaught of questions and detail

“The Insolvency Service began its investigation with literally dozens upon dozens of questions that had to be comprehensively answered and all supporting evidence provided across the full range of running a company. The simple truth is, without Neil, I would have fallen apart, it was overwhelming, daunting and incredibly detailed. 

Put simply, Neil made me understand what was expected of me, simplified matters and provided extensive and comprehensive feedback to me on the very many varied questions I asked. He provided clarity on all the nightmare scenarios I sought feedback on, helped me fully to understand my situation and most importantly, he remained extremely calm, totally professional, extremely focused and would not allow me to go off track.

I am a very single-minded businessman and through the process I became more and more angry at the situation I was in. I wanted to change the approach to attack the complainant (professionally) and challenge the Insolvency Service in a very emotional way. I drafted several letters to them in that vein, wishing to take a dogmatic approach with the liquidators and the Insolvency Service.

Thankfully, Neil’s 30+ years of experience of insolvency and Director Disqualification law meant that he knew how to rein me in and best explain my position. He took control and crafted well thought out communications to all parties involved, especially the Insolvency Service. It was ultimately his expertise and vast experience that, I am delighted to say, brought a satisfactory outcome.”

After nearly 2 years we succeeded in getting the Insolvency Service to drop the investigation

“I bombarded Neil for almost 2 years and throughout the whole time, he was patient, kind, empathetic, understanding and became my primary source of strength and hope that matters would be resolved. There was a great deal at stake. I knew I had not done anything wrong personally, but the case was extremely complex on numerous levels, both in terms of my business model that had failed, the contracts it held, whom they were held with and the alleged issues with those contracts.

Neil provided an outstanding service to me. I shall forever be indebted to him and his firm. The recommendation made to me to ask for his help turned out to be the best I have ever received.

If you are in trouble, find yourself in a situation you never expected to be in, like I did with the Insolvency Service, and require the very best help and professional support, look no further than Neil – the best solicitor I have ever met in my 27-year career. I am forever grateful.”

Talk to us if threatened with Director Disqualification

We were delighted to get a positive result for this client. He was adamant that he had not done anything wrong. Detailed investigation of all the facts of the case and what we found led us to believe he had a strong case to rebut the suggestion that he had engaged in unfit conduct.

Regardless of the Insolvency Service’s allegations, only the Director knows what truly went on in a liquidated company. The Insolvency Service (like the Liquidator) are strangers to such events. The Director must tell his/her story in the most compelling way. Our job is to add our knowledge of the law and the process to ensure the best chance of a positive result.

This was a complex case, in which it was important to remind the Insolvency Service that companies can and do fail in the absence of delinquent behaviour. It should not always be presumed that there has been unfit conduct by the Directors, no matter how vehement the complaints from persons claiming to be creditors of the Company. Take a look at some of our other testimonials.