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To be made bankrupt, a court has to issue a bankruptcy order against you. This can happen for 3 reasons:

  • you apply to the court if you’re unable to pay your debts and want to declare yourself bankrupt
  • your creditors (the people you owe money to) apply to make you bankrupt if you owe them £5000 or more
  • an insolvency practitioner applies to make you bankrupt because you broke the terms of your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

After a period of time (usually 12 months) most of your outstanding debts are written off and you can make a fresh start. This is known as discharge from bankruptcy.

Whilst you are bankrupt any assets that you have might be used to pay off your debts. This can include your home. 

Bankruptcy fees, payable to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service are: 

  • £525 for managing your bankruptcy
  • £180 for court costs, but you may not have to pay this if you’re on certain benefits

Once your bankruptcy has been approved, you’ll receive a ‘bankruptcy order’ from the court. The bankruptcy order will be registered with credit reference agencies for at least six years. 

An ‘official receiver’ will then be appointed to deal with your case and to sell your assets. The person who deals with your assets in bankruptcy is known as the ‘trustee’.

When you are made bankrupt, you have to follow strict bankruptcy restrictions. Bankruptcy can affect things like employment and your bank account.  Details of your bankruptcy are usually published in a trade paper called ‘The London Gazette’.

Always seek advice on bankruptcy. You can find debt help providers that can help with bankruptcy on