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i The advice on this page applies to residents in England and Wales only.

Applying for bankruptcy. Changes coming in 2016.

In April the Insolvency Service made changes to the way you apply for personal bankruptcy in England and Wales. They'll change in Northern Ireland from November.


The following information is the most up-to-date information we have about the new online application. Please be aware than any of the following information on the new service is subject to change until the service is introduced in November.

What’s changing?

No more forms

Personal bankruptcy will switch to an online application for Northern Ireland residents from November. The switch has been in place for England and Wales residents since April. You can apply for bankruptcy online via the GOV.UK website. You’ll no longer have to complete the lengthy forms in triplicate or attend a court hearing centre.

You’ll be able to create your case online with a username and password as with other secure sites. You’ll also be able to login and logout as many times as you need to complete the application process.

You need to supply the same type of information as the previous forms required, but you can complete each section as and when you have the information.  Each section has been simplified, making them much easier to understand, and each page has guidance on what information is needed to help you complete it.

No court attendance

From April, England and Wales bankruptcy applications are no longer dealt with in court.  The online application, once submitted, is received and assessed by an adjudicator. You will not have to attend a court and you’re notified of the decision made by the adjudicator. 

Changes to the fees

You still have to pay a deposit to the official receiver. Since 6 April the County Court fee is paid to the adjudicator instead. Bankruptcy fees vary throughout the UK; in England and Wales it costs £680 which consists of:

  • £130 fee to the adjudicator
  • £550 to the official receiver

Up until November, bankruptcy for Northern Ireland residents will cost:

  • £115 court fee
  • £525 bankruptcy deposit
  • £7 solicitor’s fee

The fees for Northern Ireland are due to change in November.

Until the new online application is introduced, Northern Ireland residents can have the court fee waived if they’re receiving certain benefits. This won’t be possible after November as the fee for the adjudicator cannot be waived.

The good news is that after November you can pay the fees by instalments as and when you can afford. When you’ve paid the fees in full, you’ll be able to submit the application online.

Where can I find more information?

If you're based in Northern Ireland and want more information on the upcoming bankruptcy changes, visit www.detini.gov.uk.

Is anything else in bankruptcy changing?

No, only the way you apply (petition) for bankruptcy is changing. How bankruptcy affects you, your home, your pension and your job remains the same. What happens to you after you’re bankrupt remains the same and the same terms and conditions (restrictions) apply to you as they do now.  

Get update alerts

Some of the details about the new application process are being finalised.

Stay updated with the latest info by filling in the form below. We'll send you an email with any important updates.


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