Tara Jones, Trainee Solicitor at Frettens, provides her top tips for students looking to apply for legal placements and describes her own experience as a placement student.
With the current pandemic, the process of getting a 'swear' as part of an MVL has become increasingly difficult.
At Frettens we offer an online swear process for MVLs. We have outlined how it works and how you can book yours in the article below.
In this article Malcolm Niekirk answers FAQs posed by insolvency professionals working on a MVL.
Online swears for MVLs - Quick Links
Is this information relevant for me?
It is, if you are:
- An insolvency practitioner working on a proposed MVL, and
- The director needs a solicitor to witness a declaration of solvency.
(If you’re a director and you’re closing your company, we’ve got information for you here.
First, decide whether you want to book the appointment, or if you would prefer your client to arrange it?
We have found that most practitioners prefer to set up the appointment themselves, rather than leave it to their client.
If it is to be them, email this link to them!
If it is for you to arrange it, you will first agree a date and time with them.
Then email us on MVL@frettens.co.uk.
Please put this information in your email:
1 The name of the company (being liquidated).
2 The director’s name and contact details. (Please do this for all directors who are to swear the solvency declaration.)
3 Your own contact details.
4 Your preferred time and date for the video call (and some alternatives).
We will confirm the arrangements by email to you and your client.
We will need to send you an engagement letter if we don’t have one in place already for this service.
- The statutory oath fee of £5.00.
- A video conference facility fee of £77.50.
- VAT of £16.50.
The total cost is £99.
We will charge the fee to your firm.
You can then include it in your invoice to the company in liquidation, as a category 1 disbursement.
We can’t invoice your client for it directly. There are many small technical reasons for that. Our explanation would involve section numbers of Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments and Professional Regulations. Life is too short.
Email the solvency declaration to your client.
Set an appointment with us for a video call (or ask them to do so).
Your client prints the document, signs it (leaving it undated!), scans it, and emails it to us.
At the video call, the solicitor will show them the signed document. They will ask them to verify their signature. Then they will administer the oath. It takes only a few minutes.
Do I need to be on the call too?
We will invite you.
We have found that most practitioners prefer to be on the call.
Sometimes it’s the first time they’ve seen their client, so it’s a useful opportunity to develop the relationship, and answer any questions about the process and timetable.
It can also be useful for AML compliance too.
Please tell us if you’re not going to be there. Otherwise we’ll wait a couple of minutes and then carry on anyway.
What's the timetable?
Obviously, you’re in the hands of your client and their accountant, not least in getting the financial information to you to prepare the statement of assets and liabilities.
Once you know when you’re getting that, you need to allow enough time:
- To prepare the statement of assets and liabilities.
- For your client to agree it.
- For your client to print the final version, sign it, scan it and email it to us.
We need time – at least four hours, please – to prepare it before the appointment.
We may have to reschedule the appointment if we don’t have it at least four clear office hours in advance.
For example, suppose the appointment is for 10.00 am on the Tuesday after the Easter bank holiday weekend. We would need to receive your signed document before 2.00 pm on the Thursday before the weekend (bearing in mind that we’re all closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday).
What if a client doesn't have a scanner. Can they photograph the signed document with their phone?
A phone photo is unlikely to be good enough quality.
Companies House will reject the document if the quality is not acceptable for their purposes. We will check with you if we’re doubtful about it.
Your client can post the signed print to us, instead of emailing a scan. Of course they will have to allow a bit more time for that. They should email MVL@frettens.co.uk for instructions.
My client is not confident with technology. Can we do it by phone?
Sorry, but we do need to see them, and they need to see the same copy of the document as the one we’re working on. So it has to be a video call.
What video conference software do you use?
We use Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft have information about the devices it works on here.
It’s free to download, and your client will probably want to set it up and try it out before the video call if they’ve not used it before.
What ID documents do you need from our client?
Our professional guidance is that we do not need to check your client’s ID documents for this service.
The MVL company is registered in Scotland. Can you swear the declaration?
Yes. The director may be north or south of the border (or anywhere else in the world).
We have overseas directors. can they swear the document this way?
Yes they can.
We can arrange a time for the appointment that’s outside our normal office hours, to suit their time zone. (We may have to charge more if the time here is very anti-social.)
My client is doing something similar with their companies in Canada. Can you help with the sworn document they need for that?
Yes, we understand that Canadian legal practice is to recognise the authority of English solicitors to administer oaths. This is the case in many other English speaking (or cricket playing) countries.
We will have to charge a little more, as the wording on the documents will have to be more detailed and we will need to check with the Canadian lawyers that it will be acceptable to them.
I have a document that has to be notarised. Can you help with that?
Sorry, for that you will need a notary public (which is a different legal qualification). But do check first that it does need a notary. Here’s a link.
Can you witness the deed of indemnity for the liquidation too?
Yes we can, if the members sign it in advance and send it to us with the signed declaration of solvency.
There may be more members signing that than the directors signing the solvency declaration. You will need to make sure that all who need to sign the indemnity deed (from the company) are on the video call with the director.
We will only witness the deed of indemnity, we won’t advise the signatories. Nor will we check their identity; we will leave it for you to run procedures that allow you to be confident the right people attend on the video call and sign the document.
We couldn’t advise the signatories on the indemnity deed and also then administer the oath on the declaration of solvency, for professional reasons.
We’ll include that in our normal fee, we won’t charge extra for witnessing the indemnity.
Can you do this for administration appointments too?
Yes. Email MVL@frettens.co.uk. If we can, we’ll schedule it with an experienced insolvency lawyer.
I have another question...
Email either the question, or a request for a call back, to MVL@frettens.co.uk.