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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

14 MAY 2010

The Ministry of Justice publish new statistics on insolvency usage in English and Welsh courts for the first quarter 2010

The Right Honourable Mr Kenneth Clarke QC MP's  department (The Ministry of Justice) have published some interesting new statistics on insolvency court usage for the first quarter of 2010, i.e. the number of bankruptcy and winding up petitions issued in the High Court and County courts in England and Wales. This is of course different to the statistics for adjudication in those courts, i.e. the number of bankruptcy and winding up orders made. See here for Insolvency Service statistics on this second interesting set of figures.

In outline the Ministry of Justice figures show that in the first quarter of 2010 the following number of petitions were issued:

  • 2,777 company winding up petitions for dissolving a company that cannot pay its debts, made either by a shareholder, director, or creditor – a decrease of 20% on the same quarter of 2009 and an increase of 4% on the previous quarter.
  • 4,329 individual bankruptcy petitions made by creditors (the person to whom the debt is owed) – a decrease of 5% on the same quarter of 2009 and a 4% increase on the previous quarter.
  • 16,348 individual bankruptcy petitions made by debtors (the person who owes the debt) – a decrease of 3% on the same quarter of 2009 and a 20% increase on the previous quarter.

The Ministry of Justice also mull on some recent changes to insolvency law that may have affected the figures. They note:

Increase in fees

Fees relating to The Official Receiver’s Deposit towards the costs of administering insolvency cases increased on 6th April 2010;

  • for debtors’ bankruptcy petitions from £360 to £450,
  • creditors’ bankruptcy petitions from £430 to £600,
  • and company winding up petitions from £715 to £1,000.

This created an incentive for companies and individuals to present petitions to the courts before 6th April and may therefore have resulted in the increase number of petitions being made in Q1 of 2010 compared to recent quarters.

Introduction of Debt Relief Orders

Debt Relief Orders (DROs) were introduced on 6 April 2009 through the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. DROs provide debt relief, subject to some restrictions, and are suitable for people domiciled in England and Wales who do not own their own home, have little surplus income (no more than £50 a month), assets (other than possibly a car) not exceeding £300, and less than £15,000 of debt. As DROs offer an alternative route into personal insolvency, they are likely to have had a downward impact on the number of bankruptcies.

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