Apply to bankrupt someone who owes you money

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

There are also other ways to recover money 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.

You cannot petition to bankrupt someone if you’re told that they are temporarily protected from creditors through the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme. Find out what to do when someone is using the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme.

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:

  • £1,500 petition deposit (for managing the bankruptcy)
  • £332 for court costs

Pay the fees using cash, postal order or a cheque made payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’. You can pay by credit or debit card if you apply online.