The emphasis on acting swiftly when filing for bankruptcy annulment applications is demonstrated In the case of Taylor v The Macdonald Partnership and others [2015] EWCA Civ 921, the Court of Appeal refused permission for the debtor to bring a second appeal against an order dismissing her application to annul her bankruptcy order.

The court may annul a bankruptcy order under section 282(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986, if satisfied that the statutory grounds exist. The court’s decision to annul may be implemented at any time but must achieve an impartial and proportionate outcome.

In this case, the debtor’s failed individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) led to a bankruptcy order being made against her in 2000 on the petition of her IVA supervisor. The debtor’s subsequent proceedings were punctuated by significant delay (her first annulment application was made in 2012), procedural errors and adverse costs orders made against her.

The Court of Appeal was satisfied that the lower courts had considered all the facts and background of the case when they implemented their discretion in the manner they had. An annulment order made now would only increase the costs, length and complexity of the already lengthy and costly proceedings.

Further, the Court of Appeal stated the debtor’s appeal did not raise an important point of principle or practice or offer any other compelling reason to hear it. As such it also dismissed the debtor’s other various applications for orders including disclosure, an account or enquiry and an extension of time for filing her notice of appeal.

The above case shows that the decision does not create any new law but stresses the significance of acting quickly. Although there is no limitation period in which an annulment order must be pursued, the older the bankruptcy order the less likely the court will annual it.

For further information about this article or any insolvency enquiries please contact Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard on 01905 677045 or lhartiganpritchard@thursfields.co.uk

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