Will your bankruptcy be public knowledge?
If you go bankrupt, you can't keep it private. You need to make sure you understand and are happy with how your bankruptcy may become public knowledge and affect your reputation before you apply to go bankrupt.
This page explains who will be told about your bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy explainedIf you want more information about what bankruptcy is and how it works, see Bankruptcy - what you need to know.
Who will be told about your bankruptcy?
When a bankruptcy order is made, the official receiver will tell various organisations and third parties that you've been made bankrupt.
All the people you owe bankruptcy debts to will be told about your bankruptcy. This is so the official receiver can:
- tell them that they can't contact you directly to ask for payment
- find out more about your financial situation
- make arrangements with them for payment towards your debts, if you have money or assets that can be used for this.
Bank or building society
The official receiver will tell your bank or building society about your bankruptcy. At this point your account(s) may be frozen so it's important that you withdraw enough money to cover your outgoings before you apply for bankruptcy. Your bank will decide whether to let you use your account again in the future.
Your landlord won't automatically be told about your bankruptcy unless you're behind on your rent. The exception to this is if your tenancy isn't assured, protected or secure. If this applies, the official receiver will contact your landlord to work out whether you gain financially from the tenancy agreement. You might need to show your tenancy agreement to the official receiver to prove that your landlord shouldn't be approached.
Energy, water and telephone suppliers
Your energy, water and telephone suppliers will be told about your bankruptcy. From this point they have to treat you as a new customer. This may mean they ask you to supply some kind of financial security, such as a guarantor, a security deposit or a pre-payment meter to pay for your ongoing energy.
If you want to avoid this, you could transfer the supply accounts into the name of another adult who lives in your home before you apply for bankruptcy.
The official receiver will tell the local authority that you've been declared bankrupt.
If you're a member of a professional body, the official receiver will tell them about your bankruptcy, if this is relevant to your membership. For example, if you work as a financial adviser, you'll probably be barred from membership of your professional body when you're made bankrupt.
Citizens Advice Bureau
If a CAB has been advising you on going bankrupt, the official receiver may contact them to ask for more details about your financial situation.
Advertising your bankruptcy in the newspapers
As well as certain organisations being told about your bankruptcy, it will also be advertised in the London Gazette.
Details of your bankruptcy won't normally be published in a local or national newspaper. This means it's unlikely that your friends, family or neighbours would find out about your bankruptcy in this way. The exception to this would be if there has been a high level of public concern or complaint about your financial conduct.
The Insolvency Register
Details of your bankruptcy will be published in the Insolvency Register. This is a publicly available list of people who've been declared insolvent, which is run by the Insolvency Service.
Any member of the public can view details of anyone's bankruptcy by looking at the register.
Can you stop your details being published?
If there's a risk that you or your family might be at risk of violence if your address is made public, you can apply for a Persons at Risk of Violence (PARV) order. Once you have started your bankruptcy application you can apply for a PARV.
You need to fill in form 7.1A which you can find on the GOV.UK website.
You can then submit the form to your local court that deals with bankruptcy. You will need to attend a hearing where the court will decide your application.
See the London Gazette at www.london-gazette.co.uk