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Liquidation is the process in accounting by which a company is brought to an end in the United Kingdom, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and United States.The assets and property of the company are redistributed.The liquidator will normally have a duty to ascertain whether any misconduct has been conducted by those in control of the company which has caused prejudice to the general body of creditors.In some legal systems, in appropriate cases, the liquidator may be able to bring an action against errant directors or shadow directors for either wrongful trading or fraudulent trading.Property which is held by the company on trust for third parties will not form part of the company's assets available to pay creditors.Before the claims are met, secured creditors are entitled to enforce their claims against the assets of the company to the extent that they are subject to a valid security interest.
The process of liquidation also arises when customs, an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties, determines the final computation or ascertainment of the duties or drawback accruing on an entry.
The liquidator may also have to determine whether any payments made by the company or transactions entered into may be voidable as a transaction at an undervalue or an unfair preference.
The main purpose of a liquidation where the company is insolvent is to collect its assets, determine the outstanding claims against the company, and satisfy those claims in the manner and order prescribed by law.
In that case, the general meeting will appoint the liquidator(s).
If not, the liquidation will proceed as a creditors' voluntary winding-up, and a meeting of creditors will be called, to which the directors must report on the company's affairs.In most legal systems, only fixed security takes precedence over all claims; security by way of floating charge may be postponed to the preferential creditors.