What do you know about Caveats? The answer, we suspect, is probably not a lot! In our experience they are under-used, yet can be worth their weight in gold.
Caveats act as a litigation “early warning system” and mean that this firm will be notified in the event that someone sues you or your company and asks the court to grant any “interim orders”. An interim order is one that is granted by the court before you/your company would even be aware of the court action. Common examples would be an interdict (injunction in England) or a bank arrestment. How would you/your company fare in the short term, if your bank accounts were frozen? The Caveat allows us to go to court to argue against the granting of the interim orders.
Caveats also have an important role in petitions to bankrupt you, or to wind-up (liquidate) your company. If someone decided to raise such a petition, and no Caveat was in place, the court would grant a warrant to cite you/your company and would order that the court action be advertised in a newspaper. This could have a huge impact on your company: your cash flow could take a hit as suppliers all clamour to be paid at once, and you may struggle to attract new clients/orders if there is talk of a liquidation. It is perfectly foreseeable that an advertisement that a liquidation action has been raised could be a self-fulfilling prophesy…
In addition, in certain circumstances a court will grant an interim order appointing a provisional liquidator. That person would take control of your company, and the first your company would know about it is when it is served with the court order. Again, a Caveat would give us advanced notice of this and allow us to attend court and argue that the action should not get off the ground at all, let alone that a provisional liquidator be appointed.
The cost of a Caveat is £150.00 plus VAT plus outlay of £44.00 per Caveat. At the very least, it is prudent to lodge a Caveat at any Sheriff Court near to you or your company’s base. A Caveat lasts for one year, and then requires to be renewed. If your company’s registered office or name changes, the Caveat should also be renewed. Given the potential impact, lodging a Caveat can be money very well spent…
Further information can be found in our news feed; 'Ah, but there's a caveat...'
Our litigation solicitors have a detailed understanding of caveats, and how they can assist your business. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries on the above. Call us on 0141 221 1919 or fill in our online contact form and we will get back to you shortly.