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How Long Does the Insolvency Process Take? A Guide for Company Directors

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Posted in: Insolvency Law 19 Sep 23

Navigating insolvency can be a daunting experience. It not only entails financial loss and potential redundancies, but also a challenging legal process that can be lengthy. How long does insolvency take? The answer is complex and depends on several factors. In this post, we will guide you through the insolvency process and estimated timelines to help you prepare and plan for what comes next.

Insolvency types:

The type of insolvency process that your company goes through determines the expected duration. There are two primary types of insolvency- liquidation and administration. Liquidation is the process of winding up a company, selling its assets, and distributing the funds to creditors. On the other hand, administration aims to rescue the business by restructuring it and maximizing the value for creditors. Liquidation is typically faster than administration, which is often complex and can take many years.

Company size:

The size of your company also affects the duration of the insolvency process. Smaller companies tend to have a shorter process than larger organizations. This is because they have fewer employees and creditors, and their financial affairs are often less complicated. Additionally, the legal fees associated with smaller firms are usually lower. Larger companies require more resources and time to administer and finalize, leading to a longer insolvency process.

The complexity of the case:

If your company has complex financial affairs or structures, the insolvency process can take longer. For instance, if your business has subsidiaries or creditors overseas, it may take longer to resolve the case. Additionally, disputes between stakeholders and legal challenges can prolong the insolvency process.

Stakeholder cooperation:

The cooperation and support of stakeholders, including creditors, employees, and directors, play a vital role in the speed of the insolvency process. If these parties work together, there is a higher likelihood of reaching a resolution faster. On the other hand, if there is tension or disputes between stakeholders, the process can take longer.

Court decisions:

In some cases, legal decisions and the court system can slow down the insolvency process. For example, if there are legal disputes on the validity of debts or if there are multiple parties vying for assets, legal proceedings may need to take place. These can be lengthy and cause significant delays in resolving the insolvency process.


In conclusion, it is challenging to estimate precisely how long the insolvency process will take as it depends on multiple factors, including the type of insolvency process, company size, complexity of the case, stakeholder cooperation, and court decisions. As a company director, it is essential to prepare for a potentially long process and work with a reputable insolvency practitioner who can guide you through the process and ensure it is completed efficiently. Remember that while insolvency is undoubtedly a difficult situation to navigate, it also presents an opportunity to reassess your company’s financial affairs and emerge leaner, stronger, and more successful.

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Robin Tarling

Advice you can trust.