With effect from 6 April 2016, a debtor can no longer petition the court to be made bankrupt, but will instead apply online to an adjudicator, who will make a bankruptcy order if appropriate.

Where a debtor submits an application online, the adjudicator must apply to the Chief Land Registrar for the bankruptcy application to be registered in the register of pending actions as soon as reasonably practicable.

The Land Registry has created form K11(ADJ) for these cancellation applications, as the existing forms K11 and K12 were not suitable for an application to remove a pending action entry in respect of a debtor’s application for bankruptcy.

The debtor may apply to the Land Registry’s Land Charges Department for cancellation of the pending action entry where:

  • The adjudicator refuses to make a bankruptcy order.
  • The adjudicator upholds a refusal to make a bankruptcy order after the debtor asks for a review of the decision.
  • The debtor appeals to the court, which upholds the adjudicator’s refusal to make a bankruptcy order.

A debtor that wants to remove the pending action entry in respect of its application for bankruptcy should submit form K11(ADJ) with a copy of the adjudicator’s letter of refusal, letter of confirmation of refusal, or letter confirming the court’s decision, as appropriate. The adjudicator’s unique reference number should be inserted in the “particulars of entry” section of form K11(ADJ), together with the unique land charges reference number for the pending action. Both of these numbers should appear in the adjudicator’s letter.

The Land Registry has also updated its Practice Guide 63 – Land Charges: registration, official search, office copy and cancellation to reflect the changes to the process by which a debtor can apply for bankruptcy, and to clarify the procedure for cancelling bankruptcy entries both at the Land Charges Department and at Land Registry.

Insolvency professionals will no doubt be waiting to see the full ramifications of applications made online, not least whether this will encourage bankruptcy tourism from other countries with much harsher bankruptcy legislation, but it is somewhat comforting to know that other bodies such as the Land Registry are already accommodating these changes.

For more information on bankruptcy and the new process please contact Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard on 01905677045 or lhartiganpritchard@thursfields.co.uk

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