From 25 April 2017, e-filing became compulsory in the Chancery Division in London. The Chancery Division (Companies Court and Bankruptcy Court) covers insolvency cases.
E-filing doesn’t just cover on-going court proceedings or new appointments or applications to court in insolvency proceedings. Where office-holders have to file any documents with the court, these should now be e-filed rather than posted.
- administrators must file a copy of their proposals with the Court under Rule 3.38(7);
- a nominee must submit a report to the Court on a CVA proposal under section 2(2) Insolvency Act 1986 and Rule 2.4(4);
- an office holder must file a creditor’s rejected proof with the Court when a creditor has appealed against the office holder’s decision under Rule 14.8; or
- a former administrator must file a final progress report with the Court within 5 days of the appointment ceasing to have effect under Rule 3.55.
“Filed with the Court” and “submitted to the Court”, where the insolvency process is being dealt with in the Rolls Building in London now means “electronically filed with the Court”.
We’re still waiting for the Practice Direction that will flesh out all the new rules – we understand this is now likely not to appear until after June’s election. In the meantime, Court staff have confirmed to us that they expect all users to adopt e-filing.
To e-file, you need to have registered with HM Courts & Tribunals E-Filing Service website. It’s free to register and set up an account and there are no limits currently on how many accounts a firm can have. Once registered – the system is pretty intuitive – your document must be in pdf format, you upload it and submit it.
Is it good news?
Well, another change to working practices, particularly after April’s new Insolvency Rules, is not always welcome. However, being able to file documents and letters at the court 24 hours a day electronically without leaving your desk is useful. The turnaround time of 3 hours (during Court hours of 10.00am til 4.30pm) to get the document sealed and on file is quicker than you’d get by post.
For out of court appointments of administrators, the documents will be dealt with more quickly by court staff, and so should be turned around in 90 minutes if filed before 3pm during Court hours. In urgent appointment situations, for example, where a buyer is lined up to complete a pre-pack or a creditor is taking enforcement action, e-filing, and the delay in getting sealed documents, is something the profession will have to adapt to.
This blog post was written by Hannah Drozdz. For further information, please contact:
Hannah Drozdz, associate & professional support lawyer
T: 0121 234 0230