Q&A - Can I apply for Winding Up Order to get invoice paid if I am in dispute with company owing it?

Q: I have been chasing a company because they owe me £25,000 for providing them with snow clearing equipment during the bad weather.  They did pay me £10,000 off our invoice but have refused to pay me the rest.  I think they are struggling financially. 
I was thinking about applying for a Winding Up Order to close down their company and get liquidators involved. That way, at least I would have some chance of getting some of my money back. However, they have now emailed me to say that they were not satisfied with the product because a wheel came off one of the snow ploughs during a job and they couldn’t finish the whole thing and this is why they have refused to pay to full amount.  I’ve heard that if there is some sort of dispute with the invoice I can’t apply for a Winding Up Order. Is this correct?
A. That is correct. If they dispute that they owe you the money because there is a substantial issue with the invoice, such as them claiming there should be a set-off because there was an issue with the equipment you provided, then that would give them a reasonable basis on which to argue against any statutory demand and defend any petition for a Winding Up Order.
Your best option would therefore be to issue proceedings against the company in the County Court.  This will mean that ultimately a Judge will hear evidence and make the decision as to whether a set-off does apply and, if not, make an Order that the other side makes full payment to you together with costs.
Commercial litigation cases such as the above can often become complex and so you would be well advised to instruct a lawyer with experience in these matters.
(Published 18/06/2018)