Part 3 Notices to be issued and actions to be taken immediately
The following paragraphs cover the actions the official should take and the notices that should be issued either immediately, or within 24 hours, following the making of a bankruptcy order.
The court is required to give notice as soon as reasonably practicable to the official receiver on the making of a bankruptcy order on either a creditor’s or debtor’s petition [Note 1].
On the making of a bankruptcy order the official receiver’s approach, in the initial stages of a case, will depend on who presented the petition. The enquiries necessary on a creditor’s petition are called “initial enquiries” and are covered in part 5 Creditor’s petition – initial action. The enquiries conducted on a debtor’s petition are called the “initial contact” and are covered in Part 4 Debtor’s petition – initial action.
On being informed of the making of a bankruptcy order by the court the official receiver should conduct a party search on ISCIS to see whether the bankrupt has previously been made bankrupt. When conducting the party search the official receiver should ensure that any previous bankruptcy orders have not been annulled. He/she should search the Individual Insolvency Register to see whether the bankrupt has previously been made bankrupt, and subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or bankruptcy restriction undertaking. The official receiver should further check to see whether the bankrupt has been discharged from the earlier proceedings. Bankruptcy restriction orders and bankruptcy restriction undertakings are recorded on the Electronic Individual Insolvency Register available via The Insolvency Service web-site.
A bankrupt may have been subject to a previous bankruptcy order made against him/her in a court dealt with by another official receiver’s office. In these circumstances the official receiver should contact that office to obtain any further relevant information not contained on ISCIS. Where an insolvency practitioner has been released as trustee of the estate the official receiver should send him/her notice of the bankruptcy order. Where the insolvency practitioner remains trustee the official receiver should send ISCIS word template form NPBB.Order to him/her. Further information can be found in Chapter 21 and paragraph 31.10.36.
The bankrupt may have entered into an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) or approached an insolvency practitioner to prepare an IVA. The supervisor or insolvency practitioner may be able to provide details of the bankrupt’s assets and liabilities to the official receiver. This information may not be current but it can be used to support the information provided to the official receiver by the bankrupt and to possibly identify undisclosed assets. The official receiver should send ISCIS word template form NPBB.IVA to the supervisor. The notice asks for details of the proposal, including a copy of the statement of affairs and details of the assets, both realised and unrealised. The official receiver should also ask the supervisor whether, in his/her opinion, any trusts were established by the IVA [Note 2]. See Part 1 of Chapter 57 and paragraph 31.10.135 for further information.
The bankrupt may have previously applied to court for an administration order. The county court may be able to provide details of the bankrupt’s liabilities. This information may not be current but it can be used to support the information provided to the official receiver by the bankrupt and to possibly identify undisclosed assets. The official receiver should send ISCIS word template form NCCAO to the court. See paragraph 57.61 for further information.
The bankrupt may have previously successfully entered into a deed of arrangement. The trustee of the deed of arrangement may be able to provide details of the bankrupt’s assets and liabilities. This information may not be current but it can be used to support the information provided to the official receiver by the bankrupt and to possibly identify undisclosed assets. The official receiver should send ISCIS word template form NPBB.Deed to the trustee. Further information is contained Part 2 of Chapter 57.
The official receiver should also make a search of the register of disqualified directors to see whether the bankrupt is subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking. The registrar of companies is responsible for maintaining the register of disqualified directors, which details all disqualification orders and undertakings made in England and Wales currently in force, including any obtained by the Office of Fair Trading or other specified regulator. Disqualification orders made in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also registered with the registrar of companies. The register of disqualified directors also records details of those directors who have obtained permission from the court to continue to act as directors following an application made under section 17 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.The register of disqualified directors can be found here under the heading “Our Products and Services” [Note 3].
The official receiver on entering the Companies House Direct website should select “officer enquiries”, select “disqualifications”, enter the name of the bankrupt and click “ok”. If the bankrupt has been disqualified his/her name will appear, highlighted on a list. Clicking on the name brings up further details, including the bankrupt’s address, date of birth, period of disqualification and the section under which the order/undertaking was made.
The official receiver may make use of Experian Citizen View, where appropriate, which provides information relating to individuals (such as, address history, telephone numbers and voters’ roll information). This information may help trace non-surrender or absent bankrupts. The search may also identify any additional creditors or addresses. The cost of this search is £1.60 and is paid from the administration fee, rather than being charged as a separate cost to the estate.
Access to Experian’s search facilities are available via a digital certificate which has been issued to a limited number of staff in each office. These certificates are attached to an individual staff member’s login and can be accessed from any computer workstation. Further information regarding the use of Experian searches can be found in the Official Receivers’ Business Support section of the Centralised Activities Directorate intranet page under Case Guidance and can be seen here.
The official receiver may determine whether or not the bankrupt has an interest in any property and/or establish the bankrupt’s interest, if any, in the address shown on the bankruptcy order by conducting a Land Registry search. Further information on conducting Land Registry searches can be found in Part 5 of Chapter 50.
On the making of a bankruptcy order the official receiver is required to publish notice of the order in the "London Gazette" (more commonly referred to as the Gazette) as soon as possible after the receipt of a sealed copy of the order [Note 4]. Publication in the Gazette is usually carried out centrally, following an automatic instruction instigated by the creation of a case on ISCIS (see paragraph 5.12). If the order of the court is varied or a mistake has been made it is the responsibility of the official receiver to ensure notice of the varied order is published in the Gazette (see paragraph 5.14).
Where the petition was presented on or after 6 April 2009, the official receiver may (in addition to publication in the London Gazette) advertise the order in such manner as he/she thinks fit. The official receiver does not have to further advertise the order if he/she does not believe it is necessary. See Chapter 5, Part 3 for guidance on exercising this discretion [Note 5]. Where the petition was presented prior to 6 April 2009, the public advertisement (usually, in a newspaper) is mandatory (see paragraph 5.1 Chapter 5 and Annex 1 Part 2)
Further general information on the procedures required to advertise the order in the Gazette and in other publications are contained in Chapter 5.
The official receiver must send notice (LRRABO) of a bankruptcy order to the Chief Land Registrar within 24 hours of receiving the order unless the court orders otherwise [Note 6]. Further information on dealing with the Land Registry, including an outline of the procedures when a bankruptcy order is made, is contained in Chapter 50.
A bankrupt or creditor may apply to the court for an order preventing the official receiver sending notice to the Chief Land Registrar, for instance if there is a prospect of a rescission or annulment (see paragraph 4.57) [Note 7]. The bankrupt or creditor making the application should serve a copy of the any order made upon the official receiver. The official receiver should carry on as normal until he/she has been served with the order [Note 8].
The debtor is responsible for giving notice to the Land Registry where the court makes any order vacating the registration of a petition or bankruptcy order. The court order will include a provision to this effect.
Where the title of the proceedings is subsequently amended by order of the court (see paragraphs 4.34 to 4.38) the official receiver must send notice of the change to the Chief Land Registrar.
This notification of the bankruptcy order or an amended title of proceedings will be sufficient to ensure a restriction is registered against a property solely owned by the bankrupt. This notification, however, is not sufficient to ensure a restriction is registered against a jointly-owned property. Where the bankrupt has an interest in a jointly owned property the official receiver must register a Form J restriction at the appropriate district Land Registry.
The official receiver should give notice of the bankruptcy order by telephone, first class post, email, fax, DX or any other faster or cost effective method immediately, if possible but within 24 hours of the making of the order to banks (see paragraph 4.141), building societies, potential suppliers and the secretary of any company of which the bankrupt may be a shareholder. The notice should include references where available. This list is not exhaustive and the official receiver should issue immediate notice to other parties where appropriate.
Where the bankruptcy order is made in the Central London County Court, or High Court, the official receiver should consider sending notice to the local county court as the bankrupt may be a party to other legal proceedings of which the official receiver is unaware. The legal proceedings may have an effect on the bankrupt’s property (e.g. divorce proceedings) or the bankruptcy in general. Where the official receiver is aware of other on-going legal proceedings to which the bankrupt is involved notice should be given to the court(s) and other parties, quoting the case numbers and other court references, if known. It is important that the court is aware of the legal effects of the bankruptcy order and the official receiver’s duty, as receiver and manager, to protect the bankrupt’s assets pending the appointment of a trustee [Note 9].
The official receiver should send notice to the court(s) (NORD1) by recorded delivery within 24 hours of the making of the bankruptcy order, or within 24 hours of becoming aware of the legal proceedings. If more urgent delivery is warranted the official receiver could use the fastest available means, for example, fax or email.
After the making of a bankruptcy order no person having a provable claim against the bankrupt shall have any remedy against him/her, or his/her property or commence proceedings against him/her without the permission of the court [Note 10]. In certain circumstances this permission may be granted retrospectively by the court where legal proceedings have commenced without leave after the date of the bankruptcy order. [Note 11]. There may be some exceptions to this provision in relation to the attachment of a debt due to the bankrupt, execution and the right of a landlord to distrain [Note 12]. Further information on the right to take action against a bankrupt’s property can be found in Chapter 9.
Since 1 April 2004 High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO) are not bound by any geographical restrictions and individual officers can choose to act in any area. As a consequence there is no certainty about which HCEO will hold a High Court writ of execution [Note 13]. Judgment creditors can request that a particular enforcement officer is appointed in the execution of a writ. Alternatively writs may be allocated for execution on a rota basis to those enforcement officers who have chosen to act in the relevant area.
A database, called NICEsheriffs, is kept of the allocation of work to HCEOs by Registry Trust Limited. Registry Trust Limited receives notice of all bankruptcy orders via electronic transfer from the Insolvency Service. The official receiver, accordingly, does not have to send notice of the bankruptcy order to this company. The contact details of Registry Trust are shown in Annex 1. Individual details of enforcement officers can be obtained here under the members tab.
For cases where the bankruptcy petition was presented before 6 April 2010 the official receiver should deliver by hand, or by recorded delivery, written notice of the making of the bankruptcy order to the appropriate HCEO in order that goods and/or money will be secured for the bankrupt’s estate [Note 14]. In practice, HCEOs generally accept the electronic notification to NICEsheriffs as sufficient. If an individual enforcement officer requires notice in writing, (for example, if he/she has taken goods in execution) [Note 15] Registry Trust Limited will request the official receiver to send a notice complying with the rules to the HCEO acting in the execution. The official receiver should send ISCIS word template form NTSH after receiving such a request.
Where the bankruptcy petition was presented on or after 6 April 2010 the Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2010 permit notice of the bankruptcy order to be given to the enforcement officer by means of delivery other than by hand or recorded delivery. The alternative means of delivery must, however, allow proof of receipt of the document at the relevant address. This specifically includes giving notice by electronic means to any person who has been authorised to receive such notice on behalf of a specified enforcement officer or on behalf of enforcement officers generally [Note 16]. The official receiver, in these cases, is not required to send notice to the HCEO in order to secure any assets of the bankrupt that have been seized.
The county court for all areas in which the bankrupt has traded or resided in the previous six months should be sent the ISCIS word template form NTSH which includes a blank schedule of executions levied. The schedule will be completed by the court where any goods or monies have been seized on behalf of a judgment creditor over which the official receiver may have a claim (see Chapter 9 Part 2 for further information). The schedule will not be returned if no goods or monies have been seized.
After making his/her initial telephone enquiries the official receiver may be able to send notice of the bankruptcy order, by first class post, to a limited number of people, such as the bankrupt’s bank, accountant, solicitors, local courts, etc. Once additional information has been obtained, for example after receiving the statement of affairs in debtor petition cases, after interviewing the bankrupt or from third parties, the official receiver should be in a position to send out further notices of the order. The type of companies, people and organisations that notices should be sent to are shown in Part 8 (Common notices of the bankruptcy order issued) and Part 9 (Less common notices of the bankruptcy order issued).
On receiving a copy of the bankruptcy order the official receiver must enter on ISCIS the following information:
This information once entered would be automatically transferred to the individual insolvency register at 5:00am the following day to enable the official receiver to comply with the Insolvency Rules [Note 18].
The official receiver is required to enter the following information, as soon as reasonably practicable after receipt, into ISCIS to enable the individual insolvency register to be updated: