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i England, Wales and Northern Ireland only

How to go bankrupt

Bankruptcy court hearing. What to expect

You do not need to attend court if you apply for bankruptcy. An adjudicator will decide if your bankruptcy can go ahead.

In Scotland, the process is different.

To apply for bankruptcy:

  1. Complete the relevant bankruptcy forms
  2. Submit them online
  3. Pay the bankruptcy fees

The rules around debt relief orders (DRO) are changing soon. These could benefit those considering an insolvency solution like bankruptcy. Please take a look at the changes, as for some people a DRO will be a cheaper alternative to full bankruptcy.

Do I need to attend a bankruptcy court hearing?

In the past, you needed to attend court if you declared bankruptcy. You do not need to do this any more.

Instead, you submit an online application and an adjudicator assesses it. You are then notified of their decision.

Who decides if a bankruptcy can go ahead?

The adjudicator decides if your bankruptcy can go ahead.

They decide if you are insolvent. This means you cannot afford to pay what you owe.

The adjudicator could refuse your bankruptcy if:

  • You can pay off your debts
  • Like by using savings
  • Another solution would be better for you
  • Like a debt relief order (DRO)

Important things to know:

1. You become bankrupt the same day your bankruptcy is approved

2. You are assigned a trustee to deal with your case

  • The trustee is an Official Receiver or Insolvency Practitioner
  • The trustee takes control of your assets on the day of your bankruptcy

3. The people you owe cannot take action to collect your debts during bankruptcy

4. Debts included are written off once you are discharged

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What happens in an interview with the official receiver?

The official receiver (OR) deals with things like your assets and contacts the people you owe.

A case examiner will be in touch with you:

  • On the day of the bankruptcy hearing, or
  • Within two days

An interview may not be needed if:

  • You complete the forms thoroughly and
  • Your case is simple

You get a questionnaire to fill out if the people you owe make you bankrupt.

It is important to:

  • Work with the case examiner
  • Complete paperwork when they ask you to
  • Be honest with them
  • Let them know of any changes during your bankruptcy

The interview takes place over the phone unless your case is complicated.

Get free bankruptcy advice

Use our online debt advice too to find out if bankruptcy is right for you.