Insolvency Service Legal Services Directorate

The Insolvency Service’s Legal Services Directorate (LSD) provides a wide range of legal, operational and policy advice. It conducts both civil and criminal proceedings to restrict those who have acted improperly during the course of insolvency or the life of a company, to wind up companies in the public interest and to bring to justice those who commit criminal offences within the remit of the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). LSD works with colleagues throughout the Insolvency Service, DBT, the Government Legal Profession (previously called Government Legal Service) and across the public and private sectors to achieve appropriate enforcement activity to deter financial wrongdoing and to support the DBT Industrial Strategy.

How to report wrongdoing

Legal Services Directorate (LSD) does not accept reports of wrongdoing directly from the public. Referrals may only be made by other agencies and from teams within the Insolvency Service. If you wish to make a complaint about wrongdoing by someone who is bankrupt or about the affairs of a limited or public company, please use the links below for more information:

You can also check if someone is bankrupt, has restrictions as a bankrupt, is disqualified from running a limited company, or the status of a company:

Criminal complaints

Where appropriate, the criminal investigations team will conduct a criminal investigation, or they may refer the case to others for regulatory enforcement.

One of the investigation officers will gather evidence and take witness statements. If appropriate, they will invite suspects to an interview under caution. Suspects can attend with or without legal representation.

An LSD lawyer will then decide if there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each proposed defendant, and whether it is in the public interest for the department to bring the case to court.

Where there is enough evidence a prosecution will usually take place - unless the prosecutor is sure this would not be in the public interest. We follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors to make this decision.

See conviction statistics and examples of successful prosecutions

Witnesses may be required to give evidence during a prosecution, and our law clerks will keep them updated as to the progress of the case. These guides provide information on the process:

As part of our aim to deter fraud sometimes we will apply to the court to confiscate from the defendant the proceeds of their crime. We may also seek to protect the public, for example by requesting the court to disqualify a defendant from being involved in the running of a limited company. This can be for a maximum of 15 years.

Investigation and Enforcement Services – our civil work

Find out more about the Insolvency Service’s civil investigation and enforcement work. This includes information about:

  • live, insolvent and dissolved company investigations
  • director disqualification
  • re-use of company names
  • bankruptcy and debt relief restrictions

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

LSD and our criminal investigation team take our duties towards victims and witnesses seriously and is committed to the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.

This code of practice:

  • sets out essential matters for us to consider when dealing with victims of crime
  • covers the provision of information during the investigative and prosecution process
  • outlines the right to review certain decisions made in certain circumstances

Insolvency Service criminal enforcement victims’ code guidance

For further information see guidance for victims of crime.