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Debtor's bankruptcy petition (Northern Ireland only)

The High Court Chancery Division in Northern Ireland will have jurisdiction for a bankruptcy petition if the debtor's centre of main interest (COMI) is in:

  • Northern Ireland; or
  • an EU member state that has adopted EU insolvency rules (known as the 'Recast Insolvency Regulation') and the debtor has an establishment in Northern Ireland.

If the debtor's COMI is in an EU member state, but not one that has adopted the EU insolvency rules, then the debtor can still apply in Northern Ireland if one of the following is true of the debtor:

  • They're domiciled in Northern Ireland.
  • They're personally present in Northern Ireland on the day on which the petition is presented to court.
  • They were ordinarily resident, had a place of residence or carried on business in Northern Ireland, at any time in the 3 years before the bankruptcy application.

To begin an application for bankruptcy, you will need to submit the following to The High Court Chancery Division:

  • The petition (Form 6.30), which sets out your personal details and the reasons for requesting bankruptcy.
  • The statement of affairs (Form 6.31), which details your assets, debts and creditors. It is important that you complete this form accurately. You may wish to review the following guidance prior to completing it.
  • A statement confirming the accuracy of the statement of affairs, sworn before a commissioner for oaths/solicitor. (It is likely that a solicitor will charge you a fee to swear this statement.)

You can obtain the above forms from the High Court, The Insolvency Service or online.

Once you have completed these forms you must pay a deposit to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. You will need proof that this is paid before your petition can be dealt with by the courts. You must also pay a court fee payable to NIC&TS. The court may waive this fee, if for example you are in receipt of Income Support.

You must then either attend in person at the High Court to submit your papers and fee or post same to:

Royal Courts of Justice

Chichester Street

Belfast

BT1 3JF

Bankruptcy hearing

The court will normally set a date for your petition to be heard. It will be heard before a High Court Master in the Royal Courts of Justice at the address given above. There are 5 possible outcomes of the hearing:

  • Your petition will be granted and a bankruptcy order made.
  • Your petition will be dismissed – this could be if the judge believes there is a more appropriate solution than bankruptcy.
  • They appoint an Insolvency practitioner - this would happen if the Master thinks an IVA is more appropriate.
  • There is a stay the proceedings- this is delaying the matter, often because the court requires further information.
  • They make an order referring you to one of the six competent authorities that can provide you with advice on a debt relief order (DRO).

If the bankruptcy order if granted

The Official Receiver will be provided with your statement of affairs. They will act as the trustee in bankruptcy unless the court appoints an insolvency practitioner instead.