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Upcoming changes to the bankruptcy application process: what you need to know

If you are in the process of or are thinking about applying for bankruptcy, it’s important that you understand the changes to the application process that are happening on 06 April 2016.


On the 6th of April 2016, the application process for people making themselves bankrupt is changing.

The information below provides an overview of these changes and how they might affect you.

How the process is changing

Up until the end of the day on 05 April 2016, all bankruptcy applications will be processed under the existing rules and will have to be submitted to the court and looked at by a judge. This means you will have to attend a court hearing in order to be made bankrupt.

From 06 April 2016, bankruptcy applications are moving online and out of the courts. This means that you’ll have to fill in your bankruptcy application online rather than using the current paper form, and you will no longer have to go to court. The new online application will be able available on GOV.UK from 06 April.

Instead, you’ll submit your completed application electronically to an Adjudicator who will make a decision about your application.

About the Adjudicator

The Adjudicator is a government official who works for the Insolvency Service, and their role is to review and make decisions about individuals’ bankruptcy applications.

Changes to the fee

The fee is also changing on 06 April.

If you apply for bankruptcy up until the court closes on 05 April you will have to pay the current cost of £705 in cash at the court before you can submit your application. You can confirm the opening hours for your local court using court finder:

You can find more information about the current bankruptcy process and fee on the GOV.UK Declare yourself bankrupt pages.

From 06 April 2016, the fee will decrease to £655:

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

You’ll also be able to make payments online and pay in instalments of as little as £5 if you can’t afford the full amount in one go. However, your application can’t be submitted until the total amount is paid in full.

Help using the online form

The only way to apply for bankruptcy in England and Wales from 06 April 2016 will be via 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 start a paper bankruptcy application but don’t submitted it to the court before 06 April you will have to start again using the new online application.

If you submit your paperwork and fee to the court before 06 April, the court will deal 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:

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

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

Published 21 March 2016