Voluntary Striking Off

The voluntary striking off procedure commences with a formal decision by the board of directors to seek voluntary striking off. The board then makes a formal application on behalf of the company (using form DS01). That application form makes certain declarations and these must be given by at least the majority of the board.

Within seven days of making the application, a copy of the Form DS01 Must be given to every person who is a member; an employee; a creditor (which includes a contingent or prospective creditor); a director; or a manager or trustee of any pension fund established for the company's staff. It is a criminal offence to fail to do so.

If at any time before the application has been dealt with by the Registrar of Companies any person joins any of those categories, then every director has a duty to ensure that a copy of the application is given to that person within seven days. Again, failing to comply is a criminal offence.

When the Registrar of Companies receives the application, a notice is published in the London Gazette (or the Edinburgh Gazette in the case of a company registered in Scotland). That provides three months' notice of the intended striking off and invites anyone interested to state any reason why the company should not be struck off. At the end of that period, assuming no objections have been raised, the Registrar actually strikes the company off the register and publishes a further notice to this effect in the Gazette. At that point the company is dissolved and ceases to exist.

Bona Vacantia

When a company is dissolved by completion of the striking off, any property which was in fact vested in that company immediately before the dissolution is deemed to be 'bona vacantia'. It therefore belongs to the Crown or, if the registered office of the company falls within relevant areas, to the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall. This would affect all property held by or held on trust for the company and all rights in relation to property and would include leasehold as well as freehold property. This is why it is essential to check there are no assets whatsoever before embarking on a voluntary striking off.