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Can I Reuse a Company Name After Liquidation?

Your company has the option to submit an application to the court for the reuse of your liquidated company’s name, but it is necessary to do this within seven days following the company’s liquidation.

This procedure is referred to as applying for ‘court leave’, which essentially means seeking formal authorisation to continue using the same or a similar name for your business.

This step is crucial if you wish to maintain the company’s brand identity under a new business structure.

Understanding the Restrictions on Reusing a Liquidated Company Name

Section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986 plays a crucial role in determining whether a liquidated company’s name can be reused.

This legislation restricts directors and shadow directors from reusing a company name for five years after liquidation unless one of the exceptions applies.

The prohibition applies to any name the liquidated company was registered, trading, trademark, or brand under.

It covers their acronym and any other name which could suggest an association with them to a neutral third party.

The rationale behind these restrictions is to prevent the rise of Phoenix companies.

Which intentionally liquidate to evade paying outstanding creditors and then re-emerge under the same management team operating a similar business.

This practice undermines the integrity of the business landscape and damages trust in the market.

Navigating the restrictions on reusing a liquidated company’s name is not a simple task, as failing to abide by the rules can lead to personal liability for company directors.

Therefore, seeking specialist insolvency advice is vital when an insolvent company liquidation and starting a new company after an insolvent liquidation, to avoid costly mistakes.

Determining the Similarity Between Company Names

The key to determining if a new company’s name is too similar to a liquidated company’s name lies in the perception of a reasonable person.

If a reasonable person would believe the two companies are connected based on their names alone, the names would be deemed too similar.

This criterion aims to prevent confusion among customers and potential legal action if the name is deemed too similar.

It is essential to research the market thoroughly and ensure that the desired name is not a very similar company name already used by another registered company.

This will help you avoid potential legal issues and ensure that the company name is linked to your business and not with any other organisation.

Exceptions to the Prohibition of Reusing a Liquidated Company Name

Understanding the exceptions to Section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986 is crucial for legally reusing a liquidated company name.

These exceptions include prior trading history, notifying creditors, and court permission.

Let’s delve into the details of each exception and learn how they can be utilized to legally reuse a prohibited name or old company name.

Prior Trading History Exception

The prior trading history exception can be applied when a director has been a director of another company with the same or similar name, and this company has been trading continuously for 12 months prior to the other company’s liquidation.

For this exception to be applicable, the directors must be confined to acting within the limited company itself, which must not have been dormant in the preceding 12 months.

The rationale behind this exception is to maintain the capability of related companies to trade without the need for a comprehensive and costly restructuring process.

While still retaining a significant portion of their current management.

Directors would be obligated to provide legal notice of the purchase to creditors of the prior company within 28 days. They must also notify the London Gazette.

Utilizing an existing, non-dormant vehicle in the same business may be more susceptible to reputational issues following the liquidation of the associated company.

As a subsidiary company opposed to a very liquidating company references newly created company was formed company that is not connected to the trading difficulties that led to the liquidation.

Notifying Creditors Exception

The notifying creditor’s exception comes in two distinct scenarios. The first scenario involves providing prior, formal notice to all creditors of the insolvent company.

Informing them that a director or shadow director intends to be involved in the promotion formation or management of a liquidating or similar liquidated company that has acquired substantially.

The whole entire or substantial part of the business from the liquidator and then traded under a name that would otherwise be considered a prohibited name.

The second scenario applies when a company exists with the same or a similar name as the insolvent liquidated company.

But the person intending to reuse the name is not yet a director.

In this case, they can give notice to the creditors of the old company within the stipulated notice period and in the required manner,

Informing them that they intend to be a director of often a subsidiary company or new company with the same or similar name as a very similar old company or name.

In both scenarios, the new company can commence trading under the contentious name once all necessary notifications have been formally provided, including an official advertisement at the London Gazette.

Court Permission Exception

The court permission exception allows directors of a successor company to petition the court for permission to reuse the name of the insolvent company.

This application must be made within seven days of liquidation, and the court must grant approval no later than six weeks from that date.

It is uncommon for courts to provide a full hearing, including input from the Secretary of State, within the six-week period specified.

Typically, there is a preliminary hearing or an order made on paper, granting temporary permission until the full hearing.

The company director, or formally appointed shadow director or company director can operate under a temporary safeguard while the application is in progress, for a period of up to six weeks following liquidation.

Strategies for Legally Reusing a Company Name After Liquidation

Several strategies can be employed to legally reuse a company name after liquidation.

One such strategy is to formally apply to the court for permission to re-utilize a prohibited name at any point within the five years following the date of the liquidation.

Another approach is purchasing the rights to the name from the liquidator, effectively transferring the ownership of the name to the new company.

Before embarking on any of these strategies, it’s essential to research the market, ensuring that the desired name is not already used by another company.

Registering trademarks can also help safeguard the company name from unauthorised use by other businesses and ensure that the company name is associated with your business and not with any other organisation.

If necessary, consider utilising a distinct trading name to distinguish the new business from the previous one and prevent confusion.

The Impact of Reusing a Liquidated Company Name on Business Reputation

Reusing a liquidated company name can have negative consequences on a business’s reputation.

Customers may be wary of dealing with a company that has been previously liquidated

Especially if the liquidation was due to financial mismanagement or unethical practices.

This hesitation may lead to reduced trust and potentially impact the new company’s ability to attract and retain clients.

Moreover, reusing a company name after liquidation carries the risk of personal liability for any debts of the new company, potential financial penalties, and even potential imprisonment.

These risks should be carefully considered before deciding to reuse a liquidated company name.

To minimise the negative impact on the business reputation, it’s crucial to proceed with caution and ensure that all legal requirements are met when reusing a liquidated company name.

Seeking specialist insolvency advice and diligently following the applicable rules and exceptions will help safeguard the new company’s reputation and mitigate the risk of personal liability.


Navigating the complexities of reusing a liquidated company name can be challenging.

But understanding the restrictions, determining name similarity, and exploring the available exceptions can help you legally reuse a company name after liquidation.

By thoroughly researching the market, registering trademarks, and using a different registered or trading name if necessary

You can minimise the negative impact on your business reputation and ensure a solid foundation for your new venture.

Remember, the key to success lies in adhering to the rules and seeking specialist advice to navigate the intricate web of legal requirements surrounding this practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep a company name after liquidation?

Keeping a company name after liquidation is possible, but requires you to seek official permission from the court.

You must apply within seven days of the liquidation for the process known as court leave, which allows you to reuse the same or similar company name.

Can a company in liquidation change its name?

It is possible to change a company’s name while old company is in liquidation. In fact

It’s relatively common for businesses to change their name during the administration process, as this can help to preserve the reputation of the brand.

However, it is important to ensure that the new name is compliant with relevant legislation.

Can a company still exist after liquidation?

A company cannot continue to exist after liquidation. Once a company is liquidated.

It ceases to be a legal entity and the company debts its assets are liquidated in order to pay off creditors before the company is removed from the Companies House register.

Consequently, the company will no longer exist and its shareholders will receive any money left over.

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