Company director disqualification

Company director disqualification

You can be banned (‘disqualified’) from being a company director if you do not meet your legal responsibilities.

Anyone can report a company director’s conduct as being ‘unfit’.

‘Unfit conduct’ includes:

  • allowing a company to continue trading when it can’t pay its debts
  • not keeping proper company accounting records
  • not sending accounts and returns to Companies House
  • not paying tax owed by the company
  • using company money or assets for personal benefit

You are not usually allowed to be a company director if you’re under restrictions from bankruptcy or a Debt Relief Order.

How disqualification works

The Insolvency Service may investigate your company (or you personally as a director of your company) if it is involved in insolvency proceedings or if there has been a complaint.

If they think you have not followed your legal responsibilities as a director, they will tell you in writing:

  • what they think you have done that makes you unfit to be a director
  • they intend to start the disqualification process

How you can respond:

You can either:

  • wait for The Insolvency Service to take you to court to disqualify you – you can defend the case in court if you disagree with The Insolvency Service
  • give The Insolvency Service a ‘disqualification undertaking’ – this means you voluntarily disqualify yourself and ends court action against you

You may want to get legal advice if you get a letter about disqualification from The Insolvency Service.

Apart from The Insolvency Service, other bodies can apply to have you disqualified under certain circumstances, e.g.:

Companies House

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

The Courts

a company insolvency practitioner

If you are disqualified

You will be disqualified for up to 15 years.

You cannot:

  • be a director of any company registered in the UK or an overseas company that has connections with the UK
  • be involved in forming, marketing, or running a company

You could be fined or sent to prison for up to 2 years if you break the terms of the disqualification.

Your details will be published online in:

  • The Companies House database of disqualified directors – your details will automatically be removed from the database when your disqualification ends
  • The Insolvency Service’s register of directors they got disqualified in the last 3 months, including details of why you were banned

You must ask a court for permission if you want to be a company director while you are disqualified. You can get help from a legal adviser.

Other restrictions

There are other restrictions if you are disqualified. For example, you might not be able to:

  • sit on the board of a charity, school, or police authority
  • be a pension trustee
  • be a registered social landlord
  • sit on a health board or social care body
  • be a solicitor, barrister, or accountant


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