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You can apply to the court to 'wind up' a company if both:

  • it cannot pay its debts of more than £750
  • you've taken the necessary steps to demand settlement and enforce payment

This guide covers winding up companies in Scotland only. Visit GOV.UK for guidance on English and Welsh companies.


This is a general guide only.

You should get advice from a solicitor, your accountant or an insolvency practitioner before taking action to wind up a company.

Your application to the court is known as a 'winding up petition'. If successful, the court will put the company into liquidation. This is known as a compulsory liquidation.

If you petition for a winding up order against the company, you may not get all or any of the money you're owed. This may not be the best course of action for you to take.

A debt specialist (such as a solicitor, your accountant or an insolvency practitioner) can help you work out the best way to recover a debt. They can also help prepare and submit your petition to the court (if appropriate).

If you're owed less than £750

You have some options if a company owes you less than £750 and has either:

  • failed to honour a payment
  • admitted in writing that they are liable for the debt

You should seek advice from a solicitor on which of these options is available to you:

  • raise a court claim to try and recover the debt
  • submit a winding up petition together with another creditor – if the total sums due are greater than £750
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