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How do I make myself bankrupt?

How do I make myself bankrupt?

What forms do I need to complete?
If you want to make yourself bankrupt you will first need to complete the following forms:

You may find it helpful to look at the example of a completed Form 6.27 (DOC, 56 Kb) and the Guidance Notes for completing Form 6.28 (DOC, 73 Kb) .

You should complete the forms in capital letters, using black ink.  You will need the completed forms plus two copies of each form before the court can accept your petition for bankruptcy.

If you do not have access to a computer or printer you can get the forms from a legal stationer or you can contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line on 0845 602 9848 – between 8.00am and 5.00pm Monday – Friday, except bank holidays. 


How much does it cost to petition for my own bankruptcy?
The total cost is £700, consisting of the court fee and a deposit on petition.

The court fee is £175. In some circumstances the court may waive this fee. Court staff will be able to tell you if this applies to you.

The deposit on petition is £525. This is payable in all cases.  It goes towards the cost of administering your bankruptcy.

You will need to pay these fees in cash or postal orders, or by a cheque from a building society, bank or solicitor. Cheques should be made payable to ‘HMCTS HM Courts and Tribunals Service’. Personal cheques will not be accepted by the court.

What happens if I can’t afford the fees?
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to give you details of charitable trusts in your area that may be able to help.
Telephone 020 7833


Can a married couple go bankrupt for one set of fees if they have the same debts?
If you are a married couple and have not been in business together, you will each have to pay separate fees of £525 deposit on petition and £175 court fee and will need to complete separate forms. 


Can the partners of a business go bankrupt for one set of fees?
If you have been trading in partnership with others and you and one or more of your business partners wish to go bankrupt you can present joint bankruptcy petitions.  You will need to pay only one court fee of £175 and one deposit on petition of  £525.

Insolvent Partnership Forms are available from this link.  

Where is my bankruptcy order made?
You should present your petition to the county court that deals with bankruptcy near to where you trade or live. 

If your debts total £100,000 or more and you trade or live in the London insolvency district, you should present your petition to the High Court.

If your debts total less than £100,000 and you trade or live in the London insolvency district, you should present your petition to the Central London County Court.

The Court and Tribunals Service website at  has a list of county courts with bankruptcy jurisdiction, and an index which will shows you the geographical area they cover, plus contact details for each of the courts.

What will happen at court?
At the hearing the court can do one of five things:

  • Stay or delay the proceedings. The court may do this if it needs further information before it can decide whether to make a bankruptcy order.
  • Dismiss the petition - perhaps because an administration order would be more appropriate.
  • Make an order referring you to an approved intermediary if it believes that a Debt Relief Order may be more appropriate.
  • Appoint an insolvency practitioner if it thinks an individual voluntary arrangement would be appropriate. This will only be possible if your assets are more than £4,000, your unsecured debts are less than £40,000, you have not been bankrupt and have not had an IVA in the previous five years.
  • Make a bankruptcy order. You will become bankrupt the moment the order is made by the court.

Who will deal with my case?
There could be two people who will deal with your bankruptcy.

1.  The official receiver

The official receiver, who is a civil servant in The Insolvency Service and an officer of the court, is appointed by the court. 

The official receiver will administer your bankruptcy and protect your assets from the date of the bankruptcy order.  They will also act as trustee of your bankruptcy estate unless an insolvency practitioner is appointed. 

The official receiver also has a duty to investigate your conduct if they think there is a need to do so. 

2.  An insolvency practitioner

Insolvency practitioners specialise in insolvency work.  An insolvency practitioner will be appointed to act as trustee of your bankruptcy estate if you have assets of considerable value or assets that may be complicated to deal with, such as livestock.

The official receiver can still investigate your conduct, even if an insolvency practitioner is appointed as trustee.

For more details see the following leaflets:

Dealing with Debt – How to petition for your own bankruptcy (DOC, 1.6 Mb)  
What happens when you are interviewed by the official receiver (DOC, 2.1 Mb) 

Guide to Bankruptcy (DOC, 1.5 Mb)  

How long does bankruptcy last?
Generally, your bankruptcy will end automatically after 12 months, on the first anniversary of the bankruptcy order. This is known as your discharge from bankruptcy.

You might be discharged before 12 months have passed.  This could happen if your bankruptcy is simple and there is no need for the official receiver to investigate your conduct. 


Can my discharge be suspended (postponed)?
If you do not co-operate with the official receiver, or the trustee of your bankruptcy estate if an insolvency practitioner has been appointed, the court may be asked to stop your discharge from taking place.

For more details see the following leaflet: When will my bankruptcy end?
(DOC, 2.1 Mb)

Can my bankruptcy be cancelled?
You will become free from bankruptcy if the court annuls (cancels) the bankruptcy order.  This can happen if:

  • the bankruptcy order should not have been made in the first place;
  • the debts and expenses of the bankruptcy have either been paid in full or secured for to the satisfaction of the court; or
  • your creditors have approved an individual voluntary arrangement or a fast track voluntary arrangement.

For more details see the following leaflet: Can my bankruptcy be cancelled (DOC, 2.1 Mb) ?

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