On the evening of Monday 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID19, outlined a series of new restrictions on people leaving their homes. In turn, the Lord Chief Justice has reviewed Court arrangements and confirmed that telephone and video technology is to be used to enable as many hearings as possible to continue remotely. Physical hearings are to be avoided wherever possible.

The Business and Property Courts’ general Winding Up List poses a particular challenge. The Winding Up List, in its entirety, cannot be conducted remotely and it is not possible to put in place social distancing arrangements so as to ensure the safety of all individuals involved in the process.

In light of this, the 155 cases due to be heard at the Rolls Building this this week, on 25 March 2020, have all been adjourned for periods of between 12 and 19 weeks.

Provision has been made though for any party that seeks a dismissal of a petition prior to the date of the adjourned hearing: an application may be made on notice to the other parties and to any person who has given notice of intention to appear pursuant to Rule 7.14 of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016.  Such applications and the petitions to which they relate will be listed in a general dismissal list to be conducted remotely by Skype or similar video conferencing technology.

Today, Yasmin Yasseri, obtained on behalf of a limited company a dismissal of the winding up petition presented against it. Upon being satisfied that there were no notices of intention to appear, ICC Judge Mullen dismissed the petition, by consent, via Skype for Business.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Business and Property team at BP@no5.com if you wish to discuss any of our available services, all of which can be provided remotely, without the need for physical meetings.