Filing bankruptcy

Please note that from April 06 2016, all bankruptcy applications must be made online. see bankruptcy online.

Filing for bankruptcy in the UK is something you can do yourself by presenting a debtor's petition (bankruptcy form) at the High Court in London or at a county court near to where you live. In order to file for bankruptcy you must be able to show that you are unable to pay your debts.

What do I need to file for bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy requires you to present:

  • Three copies of your debtor's petition
  • Two copies of your statement of affairs

You will also be expected to pay:

  • A deposit
  • A court fee

Details of costs are below. Please note that you will not be able to file bankruptcy unless you can pay the deposit.

Of the three petition copies:

  • One will be returned to you
  • One will be sent to the Official Receiver
  • One will be retained by the court

Of the two statement of affairs:

  • One is sent to the OR
  • One is retained by the court

The Cost of Filing Bankruptcy

Unfortunately filing for bankruptcy costs.

  • £525 towards the administration of your bankruptcy. This is known as the deposit and must be paid.
  • £180 court fee that may not have to be paid. This is means tested.
  • £12 if you swear the statement of affairs in the High Court or before a solicitor.

Each married couple pays a separate fee.

Is filing for bankruptcy scary?

That is a difficult question to answer. Some people will be a complete nervous wreck filing for bankruptcy whereas others will see it as a walk in the park. The bottom line is to be prepared, understand what you are getting in to and most importantly that you have received professional advice.

You will hear me stress the importance of advice throughout this website and that is for a very good reason. Filing bankruptcy can be extremely consequential and very unforgiving. It is also largely mis-understood by many people in the debt industry.

What happens if I change my mind?

Once you have filed for bankruptcy and a bankruptcy order has been made the only way to reverse it is through annulment. You can only annul your bankruptcy if you meet the grounds, one of which is paying your bankruptcy debts and costs in full. The problem with this is that bankruptcy costs can very quickly escalate. Therefore the cost of annulment can very quickly become unreachable. If you want to avoid this situation then you must make sure that filing bankruptcy is the right decision. You need to know what the consequences will be for you and your family, both in the short term and the long term.

Filing Bankruptcy at Court

Once the forms have been completed and you have the appropriate fees you are ready for filing bankruptcy at court. You have to attend court to present your petition, it cannot currently be filed online. It is advisable to contact your local county court and book an appointment.

See also Bankruptcy Court.

In the UK the Judge will want to know that you fully understand the consequences before declaring you bankrupt.

How can a creditor file for my bankruptcy?

It is important to realise that one or more of your creditors who are owed at least £750 or more by you, and that amount is unsecured, can present a creditor's petition to start the bankruptcy process. If a creditor has started proceedings a bankruptcy order can still be made even if you do not agree. Before the court will allow a creditor to file a petition for your bankruptcy they must be able to prove that you are unable to pay your debts.

The creditor will usually achieve this by serving a statutory demand that you are unable to comply with or by presenting a petition on the basis of a failed execution.

If a creditor is threatening action against you and you want to avoid bankruptcy then you must act quickly.