Creditors and the individual voluntary arrangement proposal
This page tells you how the creditors agree to your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) proposal and whether they can change or challenge it.
An IVA is a formal and legally-binding agreement between you and your creditors to pay back your debts over a period of time.
The creditors’ meeting
Once your proposal is drawn up, the insolvency practitioner will call a creditors' meeting. This will usually be held at your insolvency practitioner's office. You should attend so you can represent your own interests. You can usually join the meeting by teleconference if it's easier.
The creditors will either attend in person or send a representative.
The creditors will consider the IVA and whether to accept it or not. Many creditors have signed up to an IVA protocol. The protocol contains guidelines on how an IVA proposal should be drawn up. Creditors are expected to accept a proposal that has been drawn up under the protocol and not ask for unnecessary changes to it.
The creditors will vote on whether or not to accept the proposal.
Can creditors suggest changes to the proposal?
Creditors can suggest and vote on changes to your proposal, but you have to agree to the changes.
Do all the creditors have to agree?
Not all the creditors have to agree, for the proposal to be accepted. The proposal is accepted if more than 75 per cent (by value) of the creditors who vote or are represented at the meeting vote in favour. This is called the requisite majority. It is based on the value of the debts owed. For example, if one creditor is owed 20 per cent of the total debt, their vote counts as 20 per cent of the total vote.
You have a total of £100,000 debt. You have three creditors:
Creditor A (£6,000)
Creditor B (£70,000)
Creditor C (£20,000)
Creditor C doesn't agree to an IVA but it doesn't matter because Creditors A and B do agree and between them, they have more than 75% of the debt. Creditor C still has to keep to the terms of the IVA.
If enough creditors vote in favour, the proposal is accepted and is legally-binding straight away. All creditors have to stick to the IVA proposal, even if they voted against it. The outcome is reported to the court.
Can the decision to accept the proposal be challenged?
You or the insolvency practitioner or your creditors can appeal to the court against an IVA if:
- there was something wrong with the procedure at the creditors’ meeting. For example, where the creditors approved an IVA proposal which contained inaccurate information
- the interests of a particular creditor were not taken fairly into account.
You must put in your appeal within 28 days of:
- the proposal being accepted by the creditors, or
- the insolvency practitioner's report to the court if one is required.
If the court agrees with the challenge, it may:
- cancel (revoke) the IVA
- suspend the IVA and order another creditors' meeting to consider a new IVA or re-consider the existing one.
Other useful information
There is a voluntary code of practice, called the IVA Protocol, which all insolvency practitioners and most creditors have signed up to. The protocol makes sure the processes involved in setting up and managing an IVA are clear and fair. It also sets out the terms and conditions all parties must follow.