1. Overview

You have to present a bankruptcy petition to a court if you want to bankrupt someone because they owe you money.

From 1 October you have to prove you’re owed at least £5,000 to present a petition.

There are also other ways to recover money that you’re owed.

A bankruptcy petition is an application to the court for someone’s assets to be taken and sold to pay their debts.

Presenting a petition can be complicated. Most people use a solicitor or other professional to help them.

Using a mediation service could be quicker and cheaper. Mediation is when an impartial person helps 2 sides work out an agreement.

You can contact the Insolvency Service if you have questions about making someone bankrupt.

How to present a petition

  1. Prove you’re owed at least £5,000 or a share of debts totalling at least £5,000.

  2. Check for other bankruptcy petitions against the person who owes you money (the ‘debtor’).

  3. Fill in the forms and deliver them to the court.


The court fees to make someone bankrupt are:

  • £990 petition deposit (for managing the bankruptcy)
  • £280 for court costs

Pay the fees using cash, postal order or a cheque made payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’.