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From 6 April 2016, residents of England and Wales seeking to make themselves bankrupt will no longer need to apply to the court. Instead they will complete an online application on GOV.UK, which will be submitted to an Adjudicator employed by The Insolvency Service.
Online applications will be less expensive and, for the first time, will be able to be paid for in instalments.
The new consumer bankruptcy application process and fee
If you are in the process of or are thinking about applying for bankruptcy, then the headings below will provide you with an overview of new changes.
How the process has changed
Prior to 6th April 2016, all applications (paper forms) had to be submitted in person to court. Some found the forms confusing and difficult to complete, the cost then was £705, made up of a court fee £180 and £525 bankruptcy deposit.
The new process commenced on 6th April 2016, and anyone wishing to self-petition for bankruptcy must now do so online. The fee structure and how this is paid also changed. There is a new £130 adjudicator fee (replacing the current £180 court fee) and the bankruptcy deposit is unchanged at £525, total cost £655. For the first time you can now pay your fee online and in instalments.
Cost to go bankrupt/fees
From the 21 July 2016, the cost of going bankrupt in England and Wales will increase by £25 to £680, this is made up of the:
How do I pay the fees?
The fees can be paid as follows;
Who is the adjudicator?
The adjudicator isn’t a judge or a court official. They are a government official who works for the Insolvency Service whose role is to review and make decisions about individuals’ bankruptcy applications.
What if I don’t have the internet, or email and lack digital skills?
Your bankruptcy still has to be filed online; you could consider getting help from family or friends. However, if you do not have internet access or lack digital skills and cannot get assistance then you can call the Insolvency Enquiry Helpline on 0300 678 0015 who will help you.
How long does it take to complete the online application?
You can take as long as you like. First you need to set up an account with the Insolvency Service and then proceed to the online forms, you will be given a unique reference/logging in number and can revisit the forms as many times as you like. You can only submit the application once the £655 fees have been paid.
Basically there are eight sections to be completed in chronological order, this enables the applicant to pop in and out to completing the forms as many times as they like, just hit save and come back when you are ready to go again.
Once all sections are complete there will be a three questions asking the applicant to certify the information and who they are. The questions are;
When will I know if my application to go bankrupt has been successful?
Once filed the new adjudicator has 28 days to review the application, contact the applicant to confirm identity or to ask a question about the information provided. However they have said they aim to approve applications within 2 working days. For some applicants there will be no contact. The adjudicator will then have a further 14 days to reach a final decision, bankrupt or not.
The decision will not be sent in the post or by email, the applicant will have to log into their Insolvency Service account using the details previously sent to them by the Insolvency Service when they initially signed up.
Can I appeal if my bankruptcy is refused?
If bankruptcy is refused then the reason why would be in a document in your (?) account. There is a new review and appeal process, details of which will be in your account with the Insolvency Service.
Can I stop my address from being advertised publicly?
Yes, if you have a sufficient reason for doing so. The applicant will need to apply to the court to have their address withheld from the Insolvency Service register and London Gazette using the court form N161 under a PARVO (Person at Risk of Violence Order).
Is there any change to the process of being made bankrupt by a creditor?
The process for making someone else bankrupt remains unchanged.
I want to start an online bankruptcy application
Important question! Have you taken advice to ensure this is the only option for you? If you need debt advice or more information about your situation then see our list of the not for profit debt advice agencies, they can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you. Take me to the not for profit debt advice agencies
To start an online application, visit Apply for bankruptcy online Apply for bankruptcy online
Paper applications started before 05 April 2016
If you’ve started a paper bankruptcy application and haven’t already submitted it to the court you will have to start again using the new online application.
If you submitted your paperwork and fee to the court before 06 April, the court will continue dealing with your bankruptcy application. This will be the case even if your hearing isn’t scheduled until after 05 April.
How can I find out more about the new bankruptcy process?
You can find out more about the new process on the GOV.UK Apply for bankruptcy pages
You can contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line by: