Criteria for declaring Bankruptcy in the UK
Anyone can declare themselves Bankrupt
under UK law, provice the meet the following criteria:
A. You are domicile in the UK. I.e. You have a UK passport and a UK correspondence address (this could be a family member).
B. The majority of your debt was taken while living in the UK.
C. You are able to afford to pay the associated Court Fees which are £700 (payable in cash to the Court Clerk on the day you present your Petition). Note, if you are receiving certain benefits, you may be eligible for a reduction in these fees.
If you would prefer to do it yourself then please read this guide:
Steps to be undertaken to declare yourself Bankrupt
1. Identify Your local County Court and Tel Number
To declare Bankruptcy, you will have to present your Bankruptcy application documents (petition documents) in person at the County Court local to where you live. The local Court can be identified through the telephone book, directory enquiries or by searching on the Court Finder web site: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/HMCSCourtFinder/. If you live in London, you may have to present your documents at the Royal Courts of Justice located in the Strand.
2. Contact Your Local County Court and Request Application Forms
Telephone your local County Court and confirm that you are considering Bankruptcy. Check whether you are speaking to the correct Court location based on your home address. This is important as you must present your Petition for Bankruptcy at the County Court local to your place of residence.
You should then ask the Court to post you the necessary application forms for Bankruptcy and associated information. You will need two documents:
- Bankruptcy Petition (doc 6.27)
- Statement of Affairs (doc 6.28)
The Court will post blank copies of these documents to you free of charge. Alternatively, these forms can also be downloaded from the internet using the following website links:
3. Confirm the Court Fee
4. Confirm Whether You Need to Book an Appointment
If you want to declare Bankruptcy, you will have to pay a Court Fee. This is generally £700/person. When you are speaking to the Court, you should confirm the exact charge. If you are currently receiving benefits, then you may be able to apply for a discount. You should ask the Court about this.
When you speak to the Court, it is important to ask whether you will need to make an appointment or whether you can just turn up at any time. Different Country Courts have different procedures. If you need to book an appointment you may have to do so quite far in advance.
If you live in London and are planning to attend the High Court in the Strand, you will normally not need a prior appointment. You can just turn up on the day.
5. Complete your Bankruptcy Petition and Statement of Affairs Documents
The Bankruptcy Statement of Affairs forms are c30 pages in length. They need to be completed fully and correctly. This will normally take quite some time. Once completed, you should make 2 photocopies as forms need to be submitted to
the Court in triplicate. Normally there will not be any facilities at the Court for you to do this.
6. Present Your Completed Application Form at Court
Once you have completed your forms, you must take them, together with your Bankruptcy fee, in person to your local County Court. You should ensure that you arrive no later than 9.30 to ensure the process can be completed the same day.
Once at court the following will happen:
- A Clerk of the Court will take your fee, ensure that your application forms are correctly completed and witness your signature on the Petition Document.
- You may then meet privately with a District Judge. The Judge will ensure that you eligible for Bankruptcy (i.e. insolvent) and will determine whether Bankruptcy is appropriate. If the Judge agrees with the Petition, they will declare you Bankrupt the same day.
- You may be asked to visit the Official Receiver. This may either be arranged for the same day or you may have to make a face to face appointment or telephone appointment
at a future date.
Meeting the official receiver
Once you have been declared Bankrupt by the District Judge, you may then have to meet with the Official Receiver (OR). The Official Receiver will study your application forms in more detail. Based on this information, they are responsible for deciding decide how your Bankruptcy will be dealt with:
The Official Receiver will decide the following things:
- How long the Bankruptcy will last. This will normally be 12 months although the Official Reciever has discretion to shorten or lengthen this.
- If you can afford to make a monthly payment towards your debt and if so how much (known as an Income Payment Order which will normally last 36 months).
- If you have any assets or property, how these will be treated. I.e. if and when they will be sold to realise the asset value for the creditors
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