Company directors who fail to meet their duties and responsibilities can be subject to personal liability, fines, disqualification and prosecution. Director disqualification proceedings are generally pursued by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in relation to the conduct of directors of companies that have become insolvent.
It is also possible for directors to be disqualified for other reasons, for example as a result of competition law breaches or in addition to custodial sentences in criminal proceedings for bribery. Disqualification can be ordered by the Court for up to 15 years, and individuals who are disqualified are subject to restrictions beyond a prohibition on acting as a director.
It is also possible for the Court to make a compensation order against a director who is subject to a disqualification order or who has given a disqualification undertaking.
Our team has considerable experience in advising on director investigation and disqualification proceedings in Scotland and in England & Wales. Our experience includes:
- providing hands-on support and strategic advice throughout all stages of an investigation, including assistance with initial enquiries from the investigating body, and detailed document and data gathering exercises by investigators;
- acting in director disqualification proceedings in Scotland and England and Wales; including negotiation of disqualification undertakings, applications for leave to act as a director though disqualified and in relation to compensation orders;
- developing defence strategies in civil and criminal proceedings, including negotiation and agreement of disqualification undertakings in civil proceedings, as well as acting in plea negotiations and agreements in criminal proceedings, including preparing and delivering extensive and compelling mitigation statements in the event of agreeing a plea;
- providing advice in relation to breach of fiduciary duty/misfeasance claims against former directors/shadow directors;
- providing advice in relation to wrongful and fraudulent trading risk and claims;
- advising in claims relating to directors’ loans, and challenges to unlawful dividend payments;
- providing advice on document disclosure obligations; and
- attending interviews under caution.
We provide clear and transparent pricing to help clients assess their options. We are also experienced in working with directors and officers (D&O) liability insurers.
We work closely with our in-house solicitor advocates and with external Counsel to ensure the very best representation in court.
We are also experienced in mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to help achieve commercial and cost-effective outcomes.