Apply to bankrupt someone who owes you money

3. Check for other bankruptcy petitions

You must check if the debtor has had any bankruptcy petitions against them in the past 18 months. These checks are called ‘searches’.

Most petitions are presented in the area where the debtor lives. Government departments, including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), present all petitions in London.

Check for petitions presented in London

Carry out checks using the public computers at either:

It costs £11 to use the computers for 15 minutes. You can pay by debit or credit card or with cash.

Check for petitions presented in a county court outside London

Contact the county court for the area where the debtor lives.

They’ll advise you how to check for petitions.

When you’ve made your checks

You must confirm you’ve carried out the searches by writing a declaration - use the wording below and fill in the petition number and the name of the court if applicable.

I/we certify that I/we have conducted a search for petitions presented against the debtor in the period of 18 months ending today and that either:

- no prior petitions have been presented in the said period which are still pending
- a prior petition (Number...................) has been presented and is pending in the ..................... Court and we are issuing this petition at risk as to costs.

Signed…........................................................... Date….............................

Sign and date the declaration and attach it to your petition form.

If there’s already a petition or bankruptcy order

It’s cheaper to support an existing petition than to present your own. Notify the petitioner using the contact details on the petition.

If there’s already a bankruptcy order, you can’t continue with your petition. Register as a creditor instead.