Applying for your own bankruptcy
If you cannot pay your debts and you have unsecured debts of £750 or more, you can apply for your own bankruptcy, this is known as a ‘debtor petition’.
- You can apply online here.
- You will need to pay a fee of £680 which you will not get back.
If you apply for your own bankruptcy using the online service, a bankruptcy order will be made by the Insolvency Service. The decision whether to grant the order should be made within 28 days.
A creditor applying for your bankruptcy
Alternatively, one or more of the people you owe money to (known as your ‘creditors’) can apply for your bankruptcy if you owe them £5,000 or more. This is known as a ‘creditor petition’. If you are made bankrupt by your creditor, a bankruptcy order will be made by the court.
A creditor can only apply for your bankruptcy if:
- they have sent you a ‘statutory demand’ (see below), or
- obtained a county court judgment (CCJ) against you and unsuccessfully attempted to enforce it.
Once bankrupt, your case will be handled by a trustee. This could be an official receiver or an insolvency practitioner. You will probably have to go to an interview with the trustee which may be in person or by phone.
The trustee will make the decision of how your assets are distributed, and whether any income payment orders should be made.
Bankruptcy usually lasts for a maximum of a year. When you are freed from your bankruptcy, you can no longer be pursued for your debts that you owed at the time you were made bankrupt.
In certain cases, the trustee can ask for the bankruptcy to be extended or for a bankruptcy restriction order to be made. A restriction order might be made if you have:
- not cooperated
- behaved fraudulently or dishonestly, for example, given false details to obtain credit
- given away assets or sold them for less than their value
- neglected your business so that your debts have increased.
Read more from Gov.uk about bankruptcy.