News story

Changes to the bankruptcy application process: what you need to know

The bankruptcy application process and fee were changed on 06 April 2016.


If you are in the process of or are thinking about applying for bankruptcy, the headings below provide an overview of these changes and how they might affect you.

How the process has changed

Previously all bankruptcy applications had to be submitted to the court and looked at by a judge.

On 06 April 2016, the application process for people wishing to make themselves bankrupt moved online and out of the courts.

This means that you now have to fill in your bankruptcy application online rather than using a paper form and you no longer have to go to court. Instead, you submit your completed application electronically to an adjudicator who makes a decision about your application

The process for making someone else bankrupt remains unchanged.

You can find out more about the new process on the GOV.UK Apply for bankruptcy pages.

About the adjudicator

The adjudicator isn’t a judge. They are a government official who work for the Insolvency Service, and their role is to review and make decisions about individuals’ bankruptcy applications.

Changes to the fee

On 06 April 2016 the fee changed from £705 to £655:

  • £130 for considering your application
  • £525 for managing your bankruptcy

For the first time you can now also pay your fee online and in instalments.

Starting an online bankruptcy application

To start an online application, visit

Help using the online form

The only way to apply for bankruptcy in England and Wales from 06 April is using the online form.

If you don’t have access to a computer or don’t feel comfortable using one, you can get help from friends and family. You can also get free help and advice from a debt adviser or from the Insolvency Service Enquiry Line.

Paper applications started before 05 April 2016

If you’ve started a paper bankruptcy application and haven’t already submitted it to the court you will have to start again using the new online application.

If you submitted your paperwork and fee to the court before 06 April, the court will continue dealing with your bankruptcy application. This will be the case even if your hearing isn’t scheduled until after 05 April.

Find out more

If we haven’t covered something you’re worried about, you can contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line by:

If you’re thinking about bankruptcy but aren’t sure if it’s the right process for you, you can:

Published 6 April 2016