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Enterprise Act 2002

Sanction of actions in relation to antecedent recoveries

Sections 253 and 262: Liquidator’s powers & Powers of trustee in bankruptcy

730.The Insolvency Act 1986 contains measures to enable liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy to take legal action to seek financial restitution for losses caused to the insolvent estate. The provisions providing for the actions in question are: sections 213 (fraudulent trading); 214 (wrongful trading); 238 (transactions at an undervalue – corporate); 239 (preferences – corporate); 242 (gratuitous alienations – Scotland); 243 (unfair preferences – Scotland); 339 (transactions at an undervalue – bankruptcy); 340 (preferences – bankruptcy) and 423 (transactions defrauding creditors).

731.These sections provide that the liquidator (section 253), or trustee in bankruptcy (section 262) must have sanction (i.e. approval), usually of the creditors or the court, before taking such antecedent recovery action.

Section 254: Application of insolvency law to foreign company

732.This section will allow, for example, the Secretary of State to apply the rescue provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 to foreign incorporated companies through detailed secondary legislation. Part V of the Insolvency Act 1986 allows unregistered companies to be wound up by the court, such companies include foreign registered companies. Once this secondary legislation has been approved then such companies (particularly those with assets, creditors and employees in this country) will be able to make use of the rescue provisions, whereas currently the only option available is to be wound up by the court as an unregistered company.

Section 255: Application of law about company arrangement or administration to non-company

733.This section allows HM Treasury, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to make an order to provide for company arrangement and administration provisions to apply to certain non-companies, namely industrial and provident societies and friendly societies. This will enable the Government to apply those insolvency procedures, with any modifications that are necessary, to some or all of these societies through secondary legislation. The power will not be exercised without full consultation with all interested parties. The order may not apply in relation to a society which is registered as a social landlord under Part I of the Housing Act 1996 or Part 3 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

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