Dealing with the official receiver after bankruptcy

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

When you become bankrupt, the official receiver will take control of all your property. You will need to provide them with certain information about your finances and have a duty to co-operate with them.

This page tells you what to expect when dealing with the official receiver after a bankruptcy order has been made.

What the official receiver does

The official receiver's role in your bankruptcy includes the following:

  • taking control of some of your property

  • assessing whether you can afford to make any payments towards your debts

  • investigating your conduct and financial affairs before and during the bankruptcy, which may include asking you to attend an interview, complete a questionnaire or attend a public examination

  • advertising your bankruptcy in the London Gazette

  • informing your creditors of your bankruptcy, which may include arranging a meeting of all the creditors that you must attend

  • in some cases, acting as the trustee of your bankruptcy, responsible for distributing your property and money between your creditors.

How you must co-operate with the official receiver

The official receiver will usually be told about your bankruptcy order on the day that it’s made. You'll then hear from the official receiver within two working days. They may require you to co-operate with them in various ways, which could include any of the following: 


The official receiver may send you a questionnaire asking for full details of your financial situation. You will need to fill in and return the questionnaire within the timescale you're given, and get together all the records you have about your property and financial situation.


You'll be given an appointment for an interview with the official receiver, which must take place within ten working days of your bankruptcy order being made. 

The interview will usually take place over the telephone.

During the interview, the official receiver will:

  • check the information in your questionnaire, if you were asked to complete one

  • ask for any other information about your property and debts that is needed, along with questions about the situation that led to your bankruptcy

  • deal with any queries you may have about how the bankruptcy will work or your own particular case.

The interview may last anywhere from half an hour to three hours, depending on how simple or complicated your case is.

Public examination

The official receiver can require you to appear at a public examination, if at least half your creditors ask for this. At the examination you have to declare an oath in open court on the details of your financial situation. If you don't attend you may be arrested and could be fined or, in very limited circumstances, sent to prison.

Creditors' meeting

The official receiver may arrange a meeting of all your creditors. If this happens, you may be required to attend. At the meeting, the creditors may appoint an insolvency practitioner as the trustee of your bankruptcy, who would be responsible for raising cash from your property and belongings.

Change of circumstances

You must notify the official receiver or the bankruptcy trustee of any property or income you obtain during your bankruptcy. This could include lottery winnings, premium bond winnings, an inheritance or a personal injury award. The official receiver or trustee will take some of your gains.

If you don't co-operate with the official receiver

You must co-operate fully with the official receiver, as well as the bankruptcy trustee, if this is a different person. If you don't, they can apply to the court for any or all of the following:

  • an order for you to attend a public examination

  • an arrest warrant if you've failed to attend a public examination

  • an order to have your mail redirected to the trustee

  • for you to become subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order

  • an order for your discharge from bankruptcy to be suspended.

You may also be prosecuted for failing to co-operate, or for offences you committed before the bankruptcy.

Next steps

More information

'What happens when you are interviewed by the official receiver' - leaflet from the Insolvency Service at

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