Companies House Prosecutions can target company directors who are accused of failing to fulfil their statutory obligations under the Companies Act 2006. One of the most common offences for which Companies House prosecutes for is failing to file a company’s annual accounts on time.

If you are facing a Companies House prosecution, either related to non-filing of accounts or other alleged criminal offences under The Companies Act, our professional and experienced team of Solicitors are ready to provide the advice and representation you need. In defending Companies House prosecutions, we understand that time is of the essence. Our Solicitors will be able to advise you comprehensively on all aspects of your case at short notice if needs be. You can contact us today via, or by phoning 029 2045 8999.

From navigating communications with Companies House in Cardiff to representing you in Cardiff Magistrates Court, we have extensive experience in defending Companies House prosecutions. On occasion, drafting written representations made on behalf of the individual company Director can persuade Companies House not to continue with a prosecution on public interest grounds.

Why might Companies House prosecute me?

Company Directors are obligated under Section 242 of the Companies Act 1985 to ensure that all companies file copies of the following with Companies House:

  • The Company’s Annual Accounts.
  • The Directors’ Report.
  • The Directors’ Remuneration Report (for quoted companies).
  • The auditors’ report on those accounts and, for quoted companies, the auditable part of the directors’ remuneration.

Failure to comply with any one of legal these requirements under the Companies Act can lead to prosecution by Companies House. Each director of the company is liable to criminal prosecution. This may include a personal fine, a daily default penalty, and a civil penalty.

Moreover, being found guilty of an offence under the Companies Act will result in the individual director having a criminal record which can have serious personal implications. For example, those who are members of a professional body (such as accountants, doctors, or solicitors) may have to notify their regulatory body of the criminal conviction. The court can also disqualify a person prosecuted from acting as a director from the date of conviction for up to five years.

When faced with such allegations, the most effective defence strategy is demonstrating that ‘all reasonable steps’ were taken to fulfil the Companies Act filing obligations. What may amount to a ‘reasonable steps’ defence will depend upon the exact facts and circumstance of an individual’s case. Our experienced team of Solicitors can guide a company director through this intricate process. We can ensure that a full defence to any allegations made under the Companies Act is explored or appropriate mitigation presented to Companies House or the Court.

Companies House cases are prosecuted in Cardiff Magistrates Court. Solicitors based out of the Reeds Solicitors Cardiff office are best placed to represent your interests in defending allegations made under the Companies Act.

Reeds Solicitors are a leading criminal defence firm of solicitors and our Cardiff team have extensive experience in all defending Company Directors at Cardiff Magistrates Court. Reeds Solicitors is consistently recognised as Top Tier in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

Obtaining legal advice at an early stage is crucial. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively you can phone  029 2045 8999, or email us at

Frequently Asked Questions for Companies House Non-Filing Prosecutions

What criminal offences can Companies House prosecute for?

The prosecuting powers of Companies House are detailed in the Companies Act 2006. This imposes criminal liability on company directors for breaching statutory responsibilities such as ensuring annual company accounts are filed on time.

The Company Act 2006 requirements for filing annual accounts may differ depending on the size and type of the company. There are different rules for filing the first set of annual accounts, especially when these cover a period larger than 12 months.

For the late filing of annual accounts, each individual director in post at the missed deadline can be prosecuted according to Section 451 of the Companies Act. Directors can be prosecuted even if they were not personally involved in the filing of accounts, or if the late delivery was due to circumstances beyond a particular director’s personal control.

What should I do if I am subject to a Companies House investigation?

If you have been contacted in relation to a Companies House investigation, please do not ignore official correspondence from the prosecution or the Court. This could result in the case proceeding without your input and the Cardiff Magistrates convicting you in your absence.

Proactive and constructive engagement is an important factor in determining how the investigation by Companies House progresses and can impact the decision whether a summons is issued to attend court.

Establishing an early ‘reasonable steps’ defence and drafting written representations against prosecution is essential to maximise your change of avoiding a court appearance. Working with a Solicitor experienced in defending Companies House prosecutions during any prosecution can increase your prospects of success.

Equally, if you have been summoned by Companies House to appear in the Magistrates Court, you would seek legal advice immediately. You will be required to appear in court personally or can instruct a Solicitor to attend on your behalf. Ignoring court correspondence or failing to appear in court will result in you being convicted in your absence and your defence or mitigation not being considered.

Companies House offences are dealt with in the Cardiff Magistrates’ Court, near to their headquarters in Crown Way, Cardiff. Reeds Solicitors has a Criminal Defence team in our Cardiff office, we have expert solicitors who can help advise upon your defence or mitigation in defending any criminal allegations made under the Companies Act

For legal advice and representation, please contact our Cardiff Solicitors through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone  029 2045 8999, or email us at

Will not filing a company’s annual accounts give me a criminal record?

If found guilty for failing to file a company’s accounts on time, a director will receive a criminal conviction and therefore a criminal record. The impact of a criminal conviction is long lasting and can impact your career, applying for a visa when visiting foreign countries and other aspects of your personal life.

All individual company directors in post at the filing deadline are liable for failing to file the necessary annual accounts on time. A prosecution of this nature under the Companies Act 2006 is considered a criminal offence and therefore amounts to a criminal record disclosable by the DBS.

What evidence does Companies House require to prosecute for failure to file company accounts on time?

From an evidential perspective, the burden upon Companies House is relatively low. Companies House would be required to prove to the court beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant was a director of the company immediately before the deadline to file the accounts.
  2. The deadline to file the accounts has expired.
  3. Companies House has not received the required documents on time.

Even if a director of the company has since left their post, if they were in post immediately before the end of the accounting period then they are liable and will face criminal prosecution.

However, failing to file accounts on time is not a strict liability offence. There are statutory defences available, usually that the director took all reasonable steps to ensure that the requirements under the Companies Act would have been fulfilled by the deadline.

Can I avoid a court if I am prosecuted by Companies House?

It may be possible for your solicitor to draft written representations against prosecution to the Companies House prosecuting solicitors in an effort to persuade them to withdraw the offences. Persuading the prosecutor that it is not in the ‘public interest’ and presenting a bundle of evidence to support your case can avoid an appearance in court.

We have years of experience in preparing and presenting compelling arguments and evidence that it is not in the public interest to pursue court proceedings against our clients.

Every case is unique. To see if avoiding court is possible in your case, please contact us for legal advice. You can contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 029 2045 8999, or email us at

Will a guilty plea or conviction result in a criminal record?

Companies House prosecutions are criminal convictions, which in specific circumstances, must be disclosed to third parties. If you have received a summons from Companies House, we strongly advise seeking expert advice to determine the best course of action.

Reeds Solicitors is an award winning and leading top-tier criminal defence firm. For legal advice and representation, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 029 2045 8999, or email us at

How Can a Solicitor Help me in the event of a conviction or guilty plea?

In the event that you are convicted or plead guilty to the offences prosecuted by Companies House, one of our legal team can assist you in several ways. Your solicitor can help minimise the penalties imposed by the court, reduce the financial penalties and assist in defending against an application made by Companies House to disqualify you from containing to act as a company director.

What defence is available for a director accused of not filing annual accounts on time?

As failure to file annual accounts is not a strict liability offence under the Companies Act 2006, there are defences available for those facing allegations.

If Companies House is prosecuting you for failing to file accounts on time, it may be possible to demonstrate that you took all reasonable steps to ensure requirements would be complied with before the filing deadline.

It is important to note that to establish this defence the ‘burden of proof’ is with the director. The director will need to demonstrate that all reasonable steps were taken.

The court must be sure, beyond reasonable doubt, that a company director did not take all reasonable steps before it can convict for an offence of failing to file annual accounts by the requisite deadline.

What evidence can support my legal defence?

To successfully defend allegations made by Companies House, it is crucial to demonstrate that all reasonable steps were taken.

Supporting evidence can explain any extenuating circumstances and the actions taken to comply with filing requirements. These may include:

  • Statements from accountants
  • Letters from doctors
  • Relevant emails or letters
  • Other evidence which may support your position

The provision of character references can also assist in mitigating a potential sentence. Our skilled team of lawyers will assist you in preparing a proactive defence, ensuring the evidence is presented effectively and ensuring it is both relevant and admissible in magistrates court proceedings.

What are the consequences of a Companies House Prosecution and Conviction for a Director?

Companies House prosecutions are heard in Cardiff Magistrates Court. If convicted, the court can impose penalties including a fine, or a daily default fine.

Being found guilty in the Magistrates Court will mean a criminal conviction for the director. This may have lasting effects, including appearing on DBS checks, influencing a persons career and job opportunities, and the possible need to report such a conviction if the director is a member of a professional body (such as accountants, doctors, solicitors etc). A conviction can also impact foreign travel and may have to be disclosed upon an application for a Visa.

Companies House can make an application to the court that the individual is disqualified from acting as a company director from the date of conviction.  A disqualification of this nature is likely if an individual has been found guilty of failing to file accounts previously.

How much will legal representation cost?

Our Cardiff defence team offer a initial fixed fee consultation to discuss and advise upon your case; confidentially and without obligation. We can conduct an initial consultation via video conferencing or face to face in our office

Our fee structure is transparent, and we typically provide bespoke fixed fees tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring transparency from the outset.

Reeds Solicitors Cardiff offence is near Cardiff Magistrates Court – this reduces our travel costs and your fees if we attend court on your behalf.

For more details, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively you can phone 029 2045 8999, or email us at

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