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Regulation of Insolvency Practitioners (IPs)

Published Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This Commons briefing paper provides an outline of the current regulation of insolvency practitioners (IPs). It also provides information on how a complaint can be made against an authorised IP.

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Insolvency is a regulated profession under the Insolvency Act 1986 (as amended), the Insolvency Rules 1986 (as amended), and the Enterprise Act 2002 (as amended). Only a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP) may be appointed in relation to formal insolvency procedures for individuals and businesses. This means that only a licenced IP can act as:

  • a liquidator,
  • an administrative receiver or administrator (in respect of company insolvencies), or
  • a trustee in bankruptcy (in respect of personal insolvencies)

In addition, only a licensed IP can advise on formal procedures in respect of all Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs). In carrying out their duties, IPs must comply with statutory requirements and follow best practice and ethical guidance.

All qualified IPs must be licensed and regulated by a recognised professional body (a ‘RPB’). Currently, there are five RPBs. Each is required to have proper procedures in place to ensure that a complaint made against an IP it authorises is properly investigated.

This Commons briefing paper provides an outline of the current regulation of IPs. It also provides information on how a complaint can be made against an authorised IP.

It should be noted that insolvency legislation is devolved in Northern Ireland, although the regulatory regime follows very closely that which applies in England and Wales. Bankruptcy and insolvency are handled by the Northern Ireland Insolvency Service.

Scotland shares the same corporate insolvency law as England and Wales but a different legal procedure applies to bankruptcy (known as ‘sequestration’). Bankruptcy and insolvency are handled by the Accountant in Bankruptcy in Scotland.

Commons Briefing papers SN05531

Author: Lorraine Conway

Topic: Insolvency

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