Steps to go bankrupt
- Step 1: Make sure going bankrupt is the right option for you.
- Step 2: Find out which Court you have to apply to.
- Step 3: Get the bankruptcy fee and deposit together.
- Step 4: Complete the bankruptcy forms.
- Step 5: Take your bankruptcy forms to Court.
- Step 6: Attend your bankruptcy hearing.
- Step 7: You are declared bankrupt.
Step 1: Make sure going bankrupt is the right option for you
Bankruptcy can be an effective way to solve personal debt, BUT THERE ARE USUALLY OTHER, LESS SEVERE OPTIONS OPEN TO YOU, which need to be looked at.
Going bankrupt should ALWAYS be considered as a LAST RESORT, and the Court will expect you to HAVE considered any bankruptcy alternatives and help with debt that you may qualify for.
Making yourself bankrupt is a big step to take and requires expert debt advice.
If you haven't already received advice from us and are considering how to go bankrupt, you can use our online bankruptcy test tool, which will provide you with a free and confidential assessment of whether you qualify for bankruptcy, the impact it will have on your current situation, and any other options which may be available to you.
We'll also send you our "Free Guide to Bankruptcy" by email.
Free Online Bankruptcy Eligibility Test
Use our Free Online Bankruptcy Qualification Check to see if Bankruptcy could be the right option for you.
Or, if you’d prefer to speak to us, call our FREE Bankruptcy Helpline on 0800 368 8231 (freephone, including all mobiles).
Step 2: Find out which Court you have to apply to
You cannot choose the court where you declare yourself bankrupt. You must attend the court within the district where you have lived for the greater part of the last 6 months. Unless you live in London, this will be your local County Court. If you have a business, or had one within the last 6 months, you will need to apply at the County Court in the area where you traded.
To go bankrupt you will first need to complete the following forms. You can get the forms, free of charge, from a local court that deals with bankruptcy.
If you live or trade in London the Court you need to use will depend on how much your debts are:
- If you owe less than £100,000 you need to apply to the Central London County Court
- If you owe more than £100,000 you need to apply to the High Court
If you are not sure which Court to apply to you can call the Bankruptcy Advice helpline on 0800 368 8231 (freephone, including all mobiles).
Step 3: Get the bankruptcy fee and deposit together
This might sound ridiculous, but applying to go bankrupt is not cheap.
You have to pay the Official Receivers deposit of £525 and £180 Court fee. So the total you have to find before you can go bankrupt is £705.
If you have a low income or receive benefits you may be exempt from the court fee, allowing you to go bankrupt for £525.
If you are on a low income or get benefits, and your debts are less than £20,000 then you should check if you can get a debt relief order, as it only costs £90 to apply.
Step 4: Complete the bankruptcy forms
You need to complete two forms to go bankrupt:
- The bankruptcy petition (Form 6.27) - this form is your request to the Court for you to be made bankrupt and includes the reasons for your request.
- The statement of affairs (Form 6.28) - this form shows all your assets (anything that belongs to you that may be used to pay your debts) and all your debts, including the names and addresses of the creditors and the amount you owe each one. on oath before an officer of the court or a solicitor.
You can get the forms, free of charge, from any court that deals with bankruptcy. You can also download the forms on-line from the insolvency service
If you are dealing with a county court, the court will need the completed forms and 2 copies of each before it can accept your petition for bankruptcy. If you are taking your petition to the High Court, you won't need any extra copies.
If you need help with the forms call the Bankruptcy Advice helpline on 0800 368 8231 (freephone, including all mobiles).
Step 5: Take your bankruptcy forms to Court
Now you've completed the forms you'll need to take the forms to the bankruptcy court, along with two copies of each, the bankruptcy fee and the Official Receivers deposit.
When you get to court, you need to hand the forms to the bankruptcy clerk, who will check all the paperwork has been completed correctly.
The court will then either set a date and time for your bankruptcy hearing, or hear your case straight away.
Step 6: Attend your bankruptcy hearing
At your bankruptcy hearing, a District Judge will consider the bankruptcy petition to decide whether to reject your application, or to make a bankruptcy order. The court may reject your application if, for example, it thinks there is a better solution to your debt problem.
Step 7: You are declared bankrupt
If the court accepts your bankruptcy order, you’ll be officially bankrupt.
Once a bankruptcy order is made, any bank or building society accounts you have will usually be frozen immediately for review by the official receiver. Your bank will then decide whether or not they will continue to allow you to bank with them. In the event that they don't you can arrange for an alternative bank account that will allow you to continue as usual.
Read our guide to Bank Accounts and Bankruptcy to see what will happen to your bank account after you've been declared bankrupt.
What happens next?
You’ll get a letter from the official receiver within 2 weeks of the court making you bankrupt. The official receiver is an officer of the court who will manage your bankruptcy at this stage.
Read our guide to what happens at the official receiver to see what happens once you are bankrupt.
Need Bankruptcy Advice?
Our panel of specialists can quickly advise you on what to do if you are considering going bankrupt. Simply call the team FREE on 0800 368 8231.
Alternatively take the online bankruptcy test and check if you qualify.
Going Bankrupt in Scotland or Northern Ireland?
The above information covers how to go bankrupt in England and Wales. For a guide about how to go bankrupt in Northern Ireland or Scotland see:
How To Go Bankrupt In Scotland
How To Go Bankrupt In Ireland