A winding up petition may be challenged by a company on the following grounds:
- The debt alleged in the demand to be owing is genuinely disputed on substantial grounds by the company.
- The company has a genuine right of set-off against the creditor which exceeds the amount claimed in the demand.
- In certain other limited circumstances (for example such as Jurisdiction, Company likely to become insolvent, Technical or procedural error or Delay).
In order to oppose a winding up petition you need to file a witness statement not less than 5 days before the hearing date. A copy of the witness statement must also be sent to the petitioning creditor as soon as is “reasonably practical”
The company can attend the hearing of the petition and can oppose the any winding up order. It is usual for the company to instruct lawyers to appear on its behalf at the hearing. If they do not want lawyers then they it is only the directors that can attend.
Where a petition is opposed by the company for example, where the company disputes the petition debt then it can be adjourned for arguments in front of the Registrar in Chambers.
It may be possible to seek an adjournment of the petition and this will be on the grounds that perhaps the company can pay off the debts it owes over a period of time or can propose a company voluntary arrangement. However that is not the same as actually challenging the validity of the petition.