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Tackling your debts

Bankruptcy - do I have to go to court?

Posted 06 March 2013

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Understand your next steps

When applying for bankruptcy in England and Wales, you will need to go to court to explain your reasons for applying.

If you have serious debt problems, but you don't like the idea of going bankrupt, try not to let your fear put you off. Bankruptcy is a solution to a debt problem that has got out of hand. No one really wants to go bankrupt, but often circumstances mean it's the best option.


In England & Wales, you will need to attend court when you apply for your own bankruptcy, but don't worry: it is not an open court and it is not a criminal proceeding.


It's more like an appointment with a judge in their office, usually at your local County Court, and is not an interrogation. If you talk to us, you could have the help and advice of an insolvency professional from Debt Advisory Centre to prepare for the meeting.


You can take a professional representative with you to the hearing and you can also take someone for moral support, like a friend or relative.

Meeting the Judge

The appointment at the County Court is just another part of the bankruptcy process, but you are not 'in the dock'. The judge will want to hear you explain in your own words why you're applying for bankruptcy. Remember this isn't a criminal proceeding, but you are expected to tell the full truth, in your own words.


For more information about bankruptcy please click here.

Taking the first steps to dealing with debt

We have helped thousands of people to come to terms with their debt problems and find a way forwards. Bankruptcy is just one of the options available to people with serious money worries. Speak to an adviser about your options - you might be surprised by the help that is out there.


During bankruptcy, you will be allowed a living allowance, meaning you'll have enough money to pay for the things you need. If you're struggling to afford the essentials because of debt, then Debt Advisory Centre might be able to help.


However, bankruptcy isn't an 'easy way out' and you should be aware that it would remain on your credit record for six years, which can affect your employment if you work in some professional services or run your own business, as well as how future lenders will perceive you. You will need to repay as much of the debt as you can realistically afford and financial restrictions could apply to you for a number of years.

Which court do I go to?

If you live or trade in London, you'll attend the High Court if your unsecured debts are worth £100,000 or more.


Otherwise, you'd usually attend the County Court that's nearest to where you have lived for the last six months.

by Sarah Symons

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.