The Insolvency Service has announced that it is to withdraw the requirement whereby debtors who petition for bankruptcy online need to obtain the approval of an insolvency practitioner.
Before the end of 2015, the Service will take on the role currently carried out by the courts of making bankruptcy orders on petitions by debtors.
The new powers have been granted to the Service under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ Insolvency and Restructuring Group, Sarah Albon, inspector general and chief executive of the Insolvency Service, said that the new system would make the process easier, and reduce the burden on the legal system. She promised “easier access to bankruptcy and the removal of the need to attend court, an experience which many find incredibly stressful.”
Ms Albon also said:
“Once the provisions are implemented, an individual seeking the protection of bankruptcy will follow a new process. They will complete an online application and submit their application to the newly created office of the adjudicator, rather than to the court.”
“As a result of the changes, the court will only be involved in a minority of cases where an individual applies for bankruptcy. These will be cases involving an appeal or a post-order application. In this way, much valuable court time will be freed up.”
In June 2015, The Insolvency Service also announced that it had disqualified three directors of a claims management company that specialised in claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance and unenforceable credit agreements. Swansea-based Consortium Technology Ltd is said to have received a total of £12 million from customers for services which were never provided.
Inaccurate statements and omissions were made in numerous cold calls and unsolicited marketing emails. Consortium also took upfront fees from its customers, but failed to refund these as promised when claims were unsuccessful. It failed to inform customers of the complexity of the process for getting credit agreements voided, and did not tell them that this could only be achieved via a court order.
Amrinder Patwal was disqualified for 12 years, Nicholas Harle for 10 years and Victoria Skivington for four years.
Susan Macleod, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
“These disqualifications send a clear message to other directors that, if they make misleading statements to customers, fail to deliver services which have been paid for or fail to refund money as promised, their conduct will be investigated by the Insolvency Service and they will be removed from the business environment.”
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