Go to the Bankruptcy Court
**Update** The process for going Bankrupt in England & Wales changed on the 6th April 2016. You no longer need to present your application at your local Bankruptcy Court. Instead you must submit your application on-line.
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Find your local Bankruptcy Court
You cannot chose 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. If you live outside of London this will be your local County Court.
If you live in London you will normally need to go to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. If you live in the Croydon area you will need to attend the Croydon Country Court.
BE Tip: If you are not sure the best way of finding which Court to go to is to use the Government’s Court Finder web site.
Make an Appointment at the Court
Once you have identified the correct Court it is sensible to give them a call. Explain that you want to go bankrupt and confirm you are speaking to the right place. You should also ask whether you need an appointment or if you can simply turn up. If you are going to the Royal Courts of Justice in London you will not need to book an appointment.
If an appointment is required you should only book this when you have completed your application forms and got the appropriate Court Fee together. However it is wise to check when the next appointments are available. If there is a long waiting list then book an appointment straight away. You can always change it later if necessary.
BE Tip: When you are speaking to the court it is also useful to confirm how many copies of your application forms you will need to bring with you. Normally it will be 3.
What happens when you go to the Bankruptcy Court?
If you have an appointment you should arrive at the Court at appointed time. If you did not need to book an appointment make sure you arrive at the Court when they open – normally 9.30. This way if they are busy you will be first in the queue and you are less likely to be waiting around.
All you will need to take with you is the correct number of your completed application forms and your Court Fee in cash. You will hand over your forms to the Clerk. After checking they are correct the Clerk will take your fee and witness your signature. You will then be asked to wait for your hearing with the District Judge
BE Tip: There is no official dress code for attending the Court. However you should dress smartly. This will show the judge that you are taking the procedure seriously. You should normally anticipate being at the court for 2-3 hours
Will you have to meet a Bankruptcy Judge?
Normally you will have a hearing with a District Judge. There is no need to be worried about this. The Hearing is just a grand name for a private meeting with the Judge. It will normally last for no longer than 10 minutes.
The Judge is not there to go through your application forms in detail. They will ask you why you have decided to declare bankruptcy and whether you understand the implications. They may also ask whether have taken independent advice. As long as the Judge is happy with your answers they will grant your Bankruptcy order.
BE Tip: In certain Courts you will not need to meet with a District Judge at all. This will depend on the policy of the Court and how well your application forms are completed. It is very unusual to see a Judge in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Your Bankruptcy Order and details of the Official Receiver
After your hearing with the District Judge you will normally be asked to go back to the waiting area. The Clerk will call you when your Bankruptcy Order has been registered. They will confirm your bankruptcy reference and give you the details of the Official Receiver (OR).
From this point you are officially bankrupt. You are free to leave the Court and go home. The OR will normally contact you via telephone within a couple of days.
Arrange a call with a Bankruptcy Expert
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