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i This solution is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Bankruptcy can help you to write off debt that would otherwise take many years to clear.

Bankruptcy works differently depending on where you live in the UK. If you’re living in Scotland please visit our section on sequestration (Scottish bankruptcy). If you live in Northern Ireland, England or Wales the information below outlines the bankruptcy process.   

How bankruptcy works

Bankruptcy is a form of insolvency and is normally only suitable if you can’t pay back your debts in a reasonable time. Assets you own, such as your house or car, will usually be sold to pay off your debts. This means if your assets are worth more than your debts, or if all of your regular payments are up to date and you can afford to keep paying them, bankruptcy is unlikely to be the best option for you.

Your bankruptcy will be dealt with by an official receiver. It's their job to investigate your bankruptcy and work out if you've got any assets or extra money that could be paid to your creditors.  

If you go bankrupt, your creditors write off your unsecured debts. This gives you a fresh start.

Bankruptcy applications are changing in 2016

Bankruptcy costs

Bankruptcy fees differ depending on where you live. In England and Wales the bankruptcy fee is £655. This is made up of an adjudicator fee of £130 and a bankruptcy deposit of £525.

In Northern Ireland the fee is £647, which is made up of a court fee of £115, a solicitor fee of £7 and a bankruptcy deposit of £525. If you live in Northern Ireland, you also be exempt from paying the court fee if you receive certain benefits. 

How bankruptcy affects you

Bankruptcy normally lasts for a year. During this time you can’t borrow more than £500 without telling the lender about your bankruptcy and you have to tell the official receiver if your situation changes.

You may have to sell valuable assets, but you can keep the things you need for day-to-day living.

Bankruptcy advice

Going bankrupt is a big step to take and requires expert debt advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy, use our online Debt Remedy tool, which will provide you with the best solution to your debt problem in just 20 minutes. Or, if you’d prefer to speak to us, call our Helpline on 0800 138 1111 (free from all landlines and mobiles).

If bankruptcy is the best option for you, we have a specialist bankruptcy support team who will be able to answer any questions you have and help and support you through your bankruptcy application.

Bankruptcy FAQs

Will it affect my job?

This depends on who you work for and your role. It’ll state in your employment contract if bankruptcy will affect your job or you can ask your HR department. If you declare yourself bankrupt you won’t be able to be director of a limited company.

Will I lose my home if I make myself bankrupt?

If there is equity in your home then you could be made to sell it.

Are any debts excluded from bankruptcy (sequestration)?

Yes. The following debts can’t be included in bankruptcy: Student loans, court/magistrates fines and on-going child support payments.

StepChange bankruptcy advice

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2016