Bankruptcy proceedings in England/Wales typically last for 12 months from the date the bankruptcy order is issued by the court. This period is often referred to as the restriction period. It means that for 12 months, the bankrupt is subject to certain restrictions and obligations:

  • Cannot hold director positions in Ltd and LLP companies. If the bankrupt runs a sole self-employment, they can continue to operate it, but they cannot change their trade name for 12 months.
  • Cannot use credit cards.
  • Cannot take out loans exceeding £500 without the Official Receiver’s consent.
  • The bankrupt is allowed to own a vehicle up to the value of £2000. If they own a more expensive vehicle at the time of bankruptcy, the Official Receiver may take it and offer a replacement vehicle worth up to £2000. However, if the vehicle is valued higher than £2000 and is essential for work or other important reasons, the Official Receiver may allow the bankrupt to keep it.
  • Must inform the Official Receiver of any financial surpluses that arise during the 12-month period. This refers to money exceeding the amount necessary for the bankrupt’s and their family’s maintenance (e.g., winnings, inheritance, etc.).
  • The Official Receiver may assess the bankrupt’s income and essential living expenses. If the income exceeds the expenses, the Official Receiver may implement a 3-year repayment plan (Income Payment Agreement) – monthly payments to the Official Receiver based on a portion of the mentioned surplus.
  • Must inform the Official Receiver of any change of address. It is important to note that the bankrupt is free to move around, go on vacation, or permanently leave the UK. They just need to inform the Official Receiver about it.
  • If the bankrupt has a life insurance policy, the right to receive any compensation passes to the Official Receiver for 12 months.
  • The bankrupt’s bank accounts may be closed. This is not done by the Official Receiver but is a result of the policies of some banks. In such cases, the bankrupt is allowed to open another account with any bank.
  • Information about the bankruptcy will be visible on The Insolvency Service and The Gazette websites.
  • The declaration of bankruptcy will affect the bankrupt’s credit score. Companies that assess credit scores in the UK will retain this information for 6 years from the date of the bankruptcy order.

After 12 months, all the above restrictions and obligations automatically disappear. However, if the bankrupt does not comply with them, the Official Receiver or court may extend this period for up to 15 years.