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Discharge from bankruptcy

This advice applies to England

After a year of being bankrupt, you'll usually be discharged from bankruptcy. This releases you from any debts covered by your bankruptcy. It also takes away the restrictions of bankruptcy, unless a bankruptcy restrictions order or bankruptcy restrictions undertaking has been made.

This page explains when and how you're discharged from bankruptcy, and what happens to your debts and belongings.

Are all your debts written off?

When you're discharged from bankruptcy, you're freed from any debts that were included in your bankruptcy. However, there are some types of debt you would still be liable for, if you owe any of these.

Check which debts are included in bankruptcy

Brexit - if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Your bankruptcy agreement might not cover debts you owe to people or companies in the EU. 

Your creditors could keep asking you for money while you’re bankrupt and after you’re discharged from bankruptcy.

If you live or work in the EU, they could take you to court in the EU. 

Get legal advice if you have creditors in the EU. Find free or affordable legal help.

When are you discharged from bankruptcy?

Normally, you'll be discharged from bankruptcy after 12 months, on the first anniversary of the date the bankruptcy order was made. In some cases you may be discharged later. This is called delayed discharge.

Delayed discharge

During the bankruptcy period, you have a duty to co-operate with the official receiver and trustee, such as giving information when asked to do so. If you don't do this, the official receiver or trustee may ask the court to stop your discharge from taking place. This is called suspension of discharge.

If your discharge from bankruptcy is suspended, you will be told by the court whether you have to do anything in order to get your discharge.

Will your income payments agreement end?

If you're making payments through an income payments agreement or income payments order, these will continue for as long as the agreement or order is for.

If your income changes at all, you can apply to have the agreement or order changed.

More about income payments agreements and orders

Will you get your belongings back?

Discharge from bankruptcy doesn't mean you'll get back any belongings that haven't yet been sold. These will stay in the bankruptcy estate. It may take some time for the official receiver to deal with them.

An exception to this may be your home. If it hasn't been sold or dealt with within a certain period, usually three years after the bankruptcy order, it may be returned to you.

If you come by any new assets after you've been discharged, these will usually remain yours and can't be claimed by the trustee. An important exception to this rule is any payments you receive by claiming for payment protection insurance (PPI) which was mis-sold before you become bankrupt. You should always speak to the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee before you start a PPI mis-selling claim.

Will your bankruptcy restrictions order end?

If you've had a bankruptcy restrictions order made or have entered a bankruptcy restrictions undertaking during your bankruptcy period, this won't end when you're discharged from bankruptcy. It will carry on as long as the order or undertaking was made for.

More about bankruptcy restrictions orders

How to get proof you've been discharged

Your discharge from bankruptcy will happen automatically, so you won't necessarily get proof sent to you.

To get proof of your date of discharge, you can:

  • email discharge queries for a free confirmation letter or call them on 0300 678 0015 if you can't email
  • ask the court that dealt with your bankruptcy for a Certificate of Discharge (this costs £70 and then £10 for extra copies)

You should only ask for proof after the discharge date.

If you ask for a confirmation letter, you must include:

  • your full name
  • date of birth
  • current and previous address
  • National Insurance number
  • court reference number

Getting public records changed

After discharge from bankruptcy, your details will still be included in several public records. Some of these will be removed automatically after a certain time, while you'll need to take action to get others changed, as follows:

  • your details will automatically be removed from the Insolvency Register three months after your discharge
  • if you want your credit record to show you've been discharged, you should send confirmation to each of the credit reference agencies and ask them to update your file - remember the bankruptcy will show on your file for six years after the bankruptcy order
  • you can apply to have the record of your bankruptcy removed from the Land Charges Register, which is held by HM Land Registry

Next steps

More information

'Guide to bankruptcy' - from the Insolvency Service

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