How to Go Bankrupt in the U.K.

Bankruptcy is a challenging experience for anyone, often shrouded in mystery, with people being unaware of the process and the complex route to bankruptcy. In layman’s terms, this article looks at the process, who is involved and the implications for the person declared bankrupt.


  1. Image titled Go Bankrupt in the U.K. Step 1
    The process of being declared bankrupt in the UK is both a legal process and for most people who are declared bankrupt, a very difficult process, even a little traumatic at times. So for those reasons it is important to appoint a solicitor on your behalf to make sure that the legal aspects of the case are dealt with fairly and that you have representation. This is not some kind of technicality: being declared bankrupt is an extremely serious issue.
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    A court will actually determine whether you are bankrupt. A petition is made to the court by yourself, or even by your creditors, asking that you are declared bankrupt. Because your creditors can effectively file for your bankruptcy, this means that you can be declared bankrupt without your consent. Quite a scary prospect!
  3. Image titled Go Bankrupt in the U.K. Step 3
    Once you are declared bankrupt, then the court appoints an Official Receiver. The Receiver will interview you and ascertain how much money you have, any assets that you have and anything that can be sold to bring in money. If you have assets then an Insolvency Practitioner, sometimes known as a Trustee will be appointed to sort out the selling of your assets.
  4. Image titled Go Bankrupt in the U.K. Step 4
    Note that you no longer have control over your finances or indeed your assets- this control is with the receiver/Trustee, not with you.
  5. Image titled Go Bankrupt in the U.K. Step 5
    The Trustee can apply to the court for an official Income Payments Order, if you seem to have surplus income. That order remains in place for 3 years, but you can be legally and officially discharged from bankruptcy after only a year.
  6. Image titled Go Bankrupt in the U.K. Step 6
    Details of the bankruptcy will be published in the local newspaper and sometimes even the nationals. ‘Financial Associates’ such as your utility (gas, electricity, water) suppliers will also be told of your bankruptcy and it has significant implications for your future in terms of what control you can have over finances, ability to get a mortgage etc.
  7. Image titled Go Bankrupt in the U.K. Step 7
    Having a good solicitor by your side will mean that your voice is heard and that the process is fair to you. It also helps you to at least feel you have a little control over what can be a very difficult and challenging experience.


  • Remember that a bankruptcy is public news.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Bankruptcy