Struggling to pay - administration orders

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

This page tells you what to do if you have an administration order and your financial circumstances change, making it hard for you to keep up your payments. For example, if you lose your job.

You can no longer make payments

If your circumstances change and you can no longer make the payments into your administration order, you should tell the court straight away. For example, you may have lost your job or had to accept reduced hours at work, or your costs have gone up.

You can ask the court to review the administration order so that you pay lower monthly amounts. Or you can ask for a composition order which means some of your debt will be written off. A review will normally happen in a court hearing.

At the review

At a review, the court can:

  • make a composition order, if it did not make one originally. If you want a composition order, it is possible to ask for a review even if your financial circumstances have not changed

  • vary the terms of the administration order if your circumstances have changed. For example, if your income is less, the court may reduce the amount of monthly payments. The court could also increase monthly payments

  • suspend the order for a set period of time if you are unable to make the monthly payments in the short term. For example, if you have gone into hospital

  • if the court has recent and up-to-date knowledge about your employment, they could consider making an attachment of earnings order. This means payments would come directly out of your wages, through your employer

  • revoke the order. This means it is cancelled and your creditors can chase you for the debt again.

Missed payments

If you miss two payments in a row or are often late with payments, the court may send you a notice of intention to revoke or review the order. This means the court might change your administration order or cancel it completely.

If you don't reply to the court within 14 days, your order will be revoked. This means it will be cancelled.

If you want to continue with the administration order you should reply to the court within 14 days. You can either make a payment to clear the arrears or if you can't do this tell the court you want the administration order to continue and explain why you have missed the payments. Ask the court to review the administration order. If your financial circumstances have changed and you have less money, you could ask the court to reduce your monthly payments. Or you could ask for a composition order. This would mean some of the debt would be written off.

Once you reply, the case will be referred to the district judge who will either cancel or change the administration order. They may arrange for a court hearing to take place to hear what you have to say before making a decision but they don’t have to.

If the judge decides to call a court hearing, you and your creditors will be given eight days' notice of the date of the hearing. You should go to the hearing to say why you want the administration order changed instead of cancelled. If your circumstances have changed which means you have less money, you should try and take evidence to the hearing. For example, wage slips, benefits letters, bank statements and an up to date budget sheet showing your income and spending costs.

If the court has cancelled or changed your administration order without a hearing

If the court has cancelled or changed your administration order without a hearing, you and any of the creditors included in the order can apply to the court for a hearing to ask the court to reconsider the decision. You have 14 days from the date that you receive the decision to apply for a hearing and should give your reasons. If you are able to pay off the arrears under the order then the court may agree to reinstate the cancelled order or may agree to vary or suspend the order if you have had a change of circumstances.

Administration order is revoked

If the administration order is revoked, the creditors can chase you for the debt again. Some creditors won't expect to get any more money from you and won't try and get their debt repaid. Others might add backdated interest to your debt and start enforcement action. For example, they may hire bailiffs.

You should contact your creditors, one by one, and arrange a repayment plan with them.

If you had a composition order, you will have to repay the whole of your debts to each creditor, minus any amount that was ben paid while the order was in force.

Next steps

Help us improve our website

Take 3 minutes to tell us if you found what you needed on our website. Your feedback will help us give millions of people the information they need.

Page last reviewed on 21 December 2020