A person appointed by a court, or by the members of a company or its creditors, to regularize the company's affairs on a liquidation (winding-up). In the case of a members' voluntary liquidation, it is the members of the company who appoint the liquidator. In a creditors' voluntary liquidation, the liquidator may be appointed by company members before the meeting of creditors or by the creditors themselves at the meeting; in the former case the liquidator can only exercise his or her powers with the consent of the court. If two liquidators are appointed, the court resolves which one is to act. In a compulsory liquidation, the court appoints a provisional liquidator after the winding-up petition has been presented; after the order has been granted, the court appoints the official receiver as liquidator, until or unless another officer is appointed.
The liquidator is in a relationship of trust with the company and the creditors as a body; a liquidator appointed in a compulsory liquidation is an officer of the court, is under statutory obligations, and may not profit from the position. A liquidator must be a licensed insolvency practitioner, according to the Insolvency Act (1986) as amended by the Insolvency Act (1994). On appointment, the liquidator assumes control of the company, collects the assets, pays the debts, and distributes any surplus to company members according to their rights. In the case of a compulsory liquidation, the liquidator is supervised by the court, the liquidation committee, and the Department of Trade and Industry. The liquidator receives a statement of affairs from the company officers and must report on these to the court. The Insolvency Act (2000) requires liquidators to report any suspicions of criminal activity by company officers or members.

Accounting dictionary. 2014.

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