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Apply to have a statutory demand cancelled

If a creditor wants to make you bankrupt, they have to follow a set process. Often this will start with sending you a warning notice about your debt, called a statutory demand. They are supposed to take reasonable steps to make sure you receive the demand. If they don’t, the court may refuse to let them petition for your bankruptcy.

When you receive a statutory demand, you may be able to apply to the court to have it cancelled (set aside).

This page explains how to apply to have a statutory demand set aside.

When you can apply to have a statutory demand set aside

You can apply to the court to have a statutory demand set aside, as long as you do it within 18 days of the demand being served. The court might also consider an application outside this time limit, as long as the creditor hasn't already asked for a bankruptcy petition to be issued. You can apply to have it set aside for any of the following reasons:

  • you have a genuine dispute with your creditor about the debt
  • you think the creditor owes you at least as much money as you owe them, called a counterclaim
  • the statutory demand hasn't been issued correctly
  • you owe less than £5,000
  • you have a legal defence to court action being taken against you, such as the creditor being out of time for taking court action - you may need to get advice to see if you've got a legal defence.

Get advice

If you've received a statutory demand and want to apply to have it set aside, it's a really good idea to get advice before you do so. You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

How to apply to have a statutory demand set aside

To apply to have a statutory demand set aside, you should follow this process within 18 days of the demand being served on you.

Find the right court

You can apply to set aside a statutory demand to the court where a bankruptcy petition would be heard if you applied for your own bankruptcy. This will usually be the county court in the area where you have lived for the longest amount of time within the last six months. The statutory demand should include details of the correct court.

For a list of county courts and an index showing the area they cover, go to the courts finder tool at www.justice.gov.uk.

Complete the application forms

You need to complete court form 1AA, which is available from your court's office or from the courts form finder tool at www.justice.gov.uk.

When you hand in the application, your creditor can't try to make you bankrupt while your application to have the statutory demand cancelled is being considered.

Attend the hearing

A date will be set for the hearing, which you must attend. If you don't, the court will dismiss your application to have the statutory demand set aside.

If the application is dismissed, your creditor can immediately apply to make you bankrupt. You may have to pay court costs if your application is dismissed.

If your application is successful, the statutory demand will be cancelled, or set aside. However, depending on the reason why it was set aside, you may need to continue negotiating with your creditor about the debt, or they could try again to make you bankrupt at a later date.

Next steps

More information

'Statutory demands' - from the Insolvency Service at www.gov.uk.

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