This meeting is summoned by the official receiver, notice being given in the London Gazette and in a local paper, and sent by post to each creditor. A summary of the statement of affairs should accompany the notice, with any observations by the official receiver which he may think fit to make. The object of the meeting is to decide whether any proposal for payment of a composition or for a scheme of arrangement submitted by the debtor is to be entertained, or whether an application should be made to the court to adjudicate the debtor bankrupt. In the latter case the meeting may by an ordinary resolution appoint a trustee with or without a committee of inspection. It may also give any directions as to the administration of the estate. The meeting should be held at the place most convenient for the majority of the creditors. It is presided over by the official receiver or his deputy, who, subject to appeal to the court, admits or rejects proofs for the purpose of voting. For the transaction of business three creditors qualified to vote, or all the creditors if fewer than three, must be present or represented.
Only persons who have proved their debts are entitled to vote, and detailed regulations respecting proofs and the valuation of securities are laid down in the first and second schedules to the act of 1883. One of the chief alterations in the law on this point is the condition imposed on creditors on bills of exchange to deduct from their claims the value of the liability of prior obligants before voting, thus cancelling the power of controlling the proceedings previously possessed by persons who had no real interest in the estate. Votes may be given in person or by proxy, and stringent regulations are laid down with the view of preventing the abuse of proxies. General proxies entitling the holder to exercise all the powers which the creditor could exercise if present may be given to the official receiver or to any person in the regular employment of the creditor. Special proxies may be given to any person to vote for specified resolutions, or for the appointment of specified persons as trustee and committee. Only official forms can be used, and the blanks must be filled up in the handwriting of the creditor or some person in his regular employment, including the authorized agent of a creditor resident abroad.
A proxy must be lodged with the official receiver not later than four o'clock on the day before the meeting or adjourned meeting at which it is to be used. Resolutions are ordinary, special or extraordinary. An ordinary resolution is carried by a majority in value of the creditors voting; a special resolution by a majority in number and three-fourths in value of such creditors. The only instance of a resolution other than these is that required for the approval of a composition or scheme which requires a majority in number and three-fourths in value of all the creditors who have proved. The majority of questions arising at a meeting are decided by an ordinary resolution.