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Top FAQs quick answers to our most frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Disqualified Directors Register

Q. What is the Disqualified Directors Register?

A. It is a register of persons who have either been disqualified through a court order or by an undertaking of the Insolvency Service from being directors of companies or members of LLPs. The register shows the length of time the director or member has been disqualified. It also shows the section of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 that the director has been disqualified under.

Q. Why does Companies House maintain a Disqualified Directors Register?

A.  The Secretary of State must maintain a register under section 18 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. Companies House performs this function under delegated authority for the Secretary of State.

Q. Can I obtain a copy of a disqualification order from Companies House?

A. No. The courts do not submit copies of disqualification orders to Companies House. Court officials extract information from the orders in order to complete prescribed forms, which are then used to notify Companies House of a person’s disqualification. Likewise, the Insolvency Service provides Companies House with information where a disqualification undertaking has been made. It is these particulars, received from the court or the Insolvency Service, that make up the Disqualified Directors Register.

Q. How do I access the Disqualified Directors Register?

A. The register can be accessed through the following link: Disqualified Directors Register

Q .How much does it cost to search the Disqualified Directors Register?

A. It is free of charge.

Q. I’ve checked the Disqualified Directors Register and the person I am interested in is not on the register – what does this mean?

A. This could mean one of the following three things:

  • the person is not and has not been disqualified;
  • the person was disqualified in the past but the disqualification order has since lapsed (it is a legal requirement of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 that details of lapsed disqualification orders are deleted from the register);
  • the person is disqualified but we have not yet received official notification from the courts or the Insolvency Service.

Q. Is someone who has been disqualified allowed to act as a secretary?

A. Yes. This legislation only prevents disqualified persons from acting as company directors or LLP members. This does not apply to secretaries providing they are not involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Q. Does the legislation apply to bankrupts?

A. Yes.  If you have been made bankrupt and your bankruptcy is still in force, you cannot act as a director of a company or member of an LLP. However, the bankruptcy register is held by the Insolvency Service and can be accessed via www.insolvency.gov.uk

Scottish bankruptcies do not appear on the Insolvency Service website. They can be found on the Accountancy In Bankruptcy website which can be accessed via www.aib.gov.uk

Northern Ireland bankruptcies can be accessed via www.courtsni.gov.uk

Q. Under what circumstances are directors disqualified?

A. Examples of the most commonly reported conduct for disqualification are:

  • continuing the company's trading when the company was insolvent;
  • failing to keep proper accounting records;
  • failing to prepare and file accounts or make returns to Companies House;
  • failing to send in returns or pay to the Crown any tax that is due, and
  •  being involved in fraudulent activity

For more detailed information on when a disqualification can occur, please visit the England, Wales or Scotland Insolvency service website or the Northern Ireland Insolvency service website.

Q. Your Register of Disqualified Directors refers to 'Exemptions'. What does this mean?

A. Under the legislation a disqualified person can apply to the Court for permission to act as a director of specified companies. If the application is successful these companies will appear on the register under “Exemptions’. 

Q. Where can I obtain further information?

A. For more detailed information, please visit the England, Wales or Scotland Insolvency service website or the Northern Ireland Insolvency service website.