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Made Bankrupt - how to overturn it?


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My partner has just been made bankrupt by the local court following an application by the council due to council tax arrears (£3500 approx.)

 

This has come as a complete shock because although they threatened it several months ago we have had no notification whatsoever of any hearing. I also believe it is inappropriate anyway, the amount owed is in dispute and there are three adults in the house who are liable to pay council rtax, one of the three hasn't even been billed.

 

It's my belief that the council have come down heavy because I worte to them asking for £5000 compensation for illegal harrassment from their bailiffs - they never replied to that letter.

 

I've spoken to half a dozen solicitors, none are interested in taking on the case and the only "advice" I have been given is to pay up - which unfortunately isn't an option as I don't have even half the amount they are after.

 

Any help/advice appreciated, I want this overturned.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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My partner has just been made bankrupt by the local court following an application by the council due to council tax arrears (£3500 approx.)

 

This has come as a complete shock because although they threatened it several months ago we have had no notification whatsoever of any hearing. I also believe it is inappropriate anyway, the amount owed is in dispute and there are three adults in the house who are liable to pay council rtax, one of the three hasn't even been billed.

 

It's my belief that the council have come down heavy because I worte to them asking for £5000 compensation for illegal harrassment from their bailiffs - they never replied to that letter.

 

I've spoken to half a dozen solicitors, none are interested in taking on the case and the only "advice" I have been given is to pay up - which unfortunately isn't an option as I don't have even half the amount they are after.

 

Any help/advice appreciated, I want this overturned.

 

Surely if the Judgement was entered in your partner's absence he can ask for it to be set aside as he did not have an opportunity to submit a defence? These requests are granted to banks who obviously DID have an opportunity so I don't see why it would not be granted in this case. At least then you and he would be able to take the time to frame and present a defence to the court.

 

HOWEVER - I doubt your partner will be entitled to any compensation unless someone is prosecuted for an offence under harassment law (s.1 Protection from Harrassment Act - ?1997?)... so your defence will hinge purely on the fact that the amount is in dispute. As long as he formally notified them of this in writing, they may not pursue any recovery action until the dispute is resolved - which means in this case until a Court has decided if he owes the money or not.

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You may find this page useful:

 

Bankruptcy - Can my bankruptcy be cancelled?

 

You can apply for an annulment at any time if:

  • the bankruptcy order should not have been made, for example because the proper steps involved in obtaining the order were not followed; or
  • all your bankruptcy debts and the fees and expenses of the bankruptcy proceedings have been either paid in full or guaranteed to the satisfaction of the court; or
  • you have reached an agreement called an “individual voluntary arrangement” with your creditors to repay all or part of your debts.

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I only found out about it when we received the bankrupcy papers this morning. Apparently there was a hearing back in August which was adjourned because we didn't turn up and notices have allegedly been hand delivered but we have received absolutely nothing - it's not the sort of thing you would ignore!

 

Thanks for the links, will take a look at them.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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I suppose the bailiffs will claim they delivered them Yeah right!

 

I know, this is what's so frustrating.

 

What I am particularly annoyed about is after several years of struggling I am just beginning to turn things around and I offered to pay them £50 a week three months ago and never got a reply.

 

I spoke to the council today and they said they rejected the offer (although they never actually wrote back to me to say they had rejected it) because it had gone too far and the matter was out of their hands. I should have just paid the £50 a week anyway but that's not the point. I tried speaking to the comapny that brought the bankrupcy action but since it wasn't in my name they refused to discuss it. Ridiculous since I am jointly liable and I am directly affected since it's my home that will go too if we are forced to sell.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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Incidentally the house/mortgage is in her sole name which is why they have targeted her. What I can't understand is why my stepson's name has ever even appeared on the bills since every adult is jointly liable. We are all on the voters list or whatever it's called. And since I am jointly liable and my name DOES appear on the council tax bill, why haven't I been made bankrupt too?

 

There seems to be an element of discrimination here.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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It is my understanding that council tax is the responsibility of the householder regardless of how many adults live in the house - unlike the poll tax which every adult had to pay.

Did the council not get a CCJ before making you bankrupt? That is the usual course of action I believe?

Poppynurse :)

 

If my comments have been helpful please click my scales!!!!

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I phoned the counciil (anonymously) and asked who was responsible for payment. They said that it was the joint responsibility of those living in the house. I phoned another council in another town to confirm and they said the same thing.

 

Councils don't issue CCJ's they send the issue to Magistatres court just like unpaid parking tickets and then send in the bailiffs. They move on to this tactic because the bailiffs can't get in, but I/we should have been notified by law. We weren't.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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I've never heard of a bankruptcy before, but our council (south Glos) issue with court summons, then apply for a warrant for liabilites then if you dont make contact, a distress warrant if no joy, then a Bailiff to levy the goods,after that then they apply for an attachment of earnings, then if you dont pay then an arrest warrant......Ive been there. But bankruptcy is harsh. Bailiffs will only give you 14 days if they call on you and if you do not make contact with their offices with an offer and then if you do make contact they only give you 3 months to pay. There is absolutely no point in complaing to the Bailiffs as it fall on deaf ears, and they have threatened me with an assualt charge. I think something is amiss here? i think you need to do some homework on your council procedures on how they collect unpaid tax. The only people that got me to bankruptcy court was HM Customs & Excise and that took over 6 months to get that to court.

Webbscatering ;)

LLoyds TSB Started 13/9/06 - Paid In Full 15/3/2007 - Settled

 

NatWest - Started 8/9/06 - 2nd January 2007 - Settled

Virgin Media - Started 8/10/07 - Settled

GE Money - Started 28/02/08 - Settled

British Credit Trust - S.A.R - Prelim sent

Enterprise Inns - court papers served

Natwest - S.A.R - Prelim Sent

 

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The whole thing is a total farce. I have actually managed to raise the full amount and offered it to the council but they have refused to accept it. The official receiver says that it will be accepted but there will be his fees (a statutory £1650 apparently) plus whatever other debts we (or she) has, about £1500, before it can be annulled.

 

He was only interested in his money. I have suggested to the council that they are being unreasonable given that it is only 5 days since the hearing - the one we knew nothing about but they say it's out of their hands. Why? Surely the whole purpose of the exercise is to get them their money?

 

I've spoken to a couple of insolvency firms but the suggestion seems to be that it will be almost impossible to annull on the grounds that we didn't receive the relevant paperwork as all the opposition have to do is prove they hand posted the letters - apparently stating that they did just that is sufficient!!!???

 

What infuriates me is that I offered them money months ago and it was turned down!

 

I will definately try to get it overturned and I will be writing to my MP and the council ombudsman, haven't had chance to have a look at that site yet to see what they do, but i'm not taking this lying down. The whole thing is absurd. Apparently the council bypass the attachment of earnings option and earlier this year did the same to a single parent for £900.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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You may find this page useful:

 

Bankruptcy - Can my bankruptcy be cancelled?

 

You can apply for an annulment at any time if:

  • the bankruptcy order should not have been made, for example because the proper steps involved in obtaining the order were not followed; or
  • all your bankruptcy debts and the fees and expenses of the bankruptcy proceedings have been either paid in full or guaranteed to the satisfaction of the court;

 

It's these two aspects i'm interested in, and i'm looking for clarification of the second issue. the receiver says that at this stage EVERYTHING has to be paid to have it annulled (see last post), as "all your bankrupcy debts" means everything that is owed, not just the debt that brought on the bankrupcy proceedings.

 

What puzzles me is I was always under the impression that a bankrupcy order wiped out your debts?

 

I can't understand how a person with around £70,000 equity can be declared bankrupt for a debt of under £4000. I thought bankrupcy meant that you were worth less than you had?

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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When I went to court over my bankruptcy, the receiver was a nice bloke and so was the judge, because i turned up they with part payment they adjourned it, gave me a further 28 days to pay. Now on the second hearing i was told not to turn up which was a mistake as the receiver applied for a court order for cost which was including court cost about £770... I think you need to challenge this

 

Check this guy out: http://www.collyerbristow.com

Proudest professional moment

 

Overturning a bankruptcy order obtained by Customs and Excise against a little old lady on a difficult point of law and practice and receiving a personally knitted 'Superman' doll from the grateful client.

Webbscatering ;)

LLoyds TSB Started 13/9/06 - Paid In Full 15/3/2007 - Settled

 

NatWest - Started 8/9/06 - 2nd January 2007 - Settled

Virgin Media - Started 8/10/07 - Settled

GE Money - Started 28/02/08 - Settled

British Credit Trust - S.A.R - Prelim sent

Enterprise Inns - court papers served

Natwest - S.A.R - Prelim Sent

 

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Thanks for that, it is the only encouraging thing I have heard since Friday. Nobody else has yet recommended challenging this despite the fact I am able to pay in full (pending receipt of the funds which should be later this week).

 

I am wondering at this stage if it is worth sidestepping the authorities and going to a bank with a payment slip and making the payment in full ahead of any annullment hearing. I would then also be able to present to the court that the payment has been made in full. Any thoughts on this, as it leaves us absolutely broke and unable to pay any further substantial costs if we spend all we have on this one payment?

 

I had a brief look at that website, they sound awfully expensive.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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Have you been declared bankrupt yet? if so whats the hurry to pay, try to keep it aside just incase they send a collector around but the receiver should be incontact with you to discuss this problem. Have you been to the Citizens Advice Bureau, they are fantastic when all else fails.

 

When my boss went bust the receivers came to her business and valued all saleable assets took the cash, that was all in the same day. Why is it taken so long? something not right here.....there definately is a catalogue of errors.

An interesting point to make when i was issued with my bankruptcy papers it was hand delivered in my hand by a personal messenger, as this was delivered to my business the messenger id me to ensure i was the recipient.

Webbscatering ;)

LLoyds TSB Started 13/9/06 - Paid In Full 15/3/2007 - Settled

 

NatWest - Started 8/9/06 - 2nd January 2007 - Settled

Virgin Media - Started 8/10/07 - Settled

GE Money - Started 28/02/08 - Settled

British Credit Trust - S.A.R - Prelim sent

Enterprise Inns - court papers served

Natwest - S.A.R - Prelim Sent

 

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the website i gave you, does this guy offer you a free 1 hour consultation, as he should do.

Webbscatering ;)

LLoyds TSB Started 13/9/06 - Paid In Full 15/3/2007 - Settled

 

NatWest - Started 8/9/06 - 2nd January 2007 - Settled

Virgin Media - Started 8/10/07 - Settled

GE Money - Started 28/02/08 - Settled

British Credit Trust - S.A.R - Prelim sent

Enterprise Inns - court papers served

Natwest - S.A.R - Prelim Sent

 

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I spoke to somebody on that website and he didn't offer a free consultation but did offer to look over the court papers if I sent him copies. He suggested that his fees would be "several thousand pounds" and you would expect this from a company that deals with "bigger" clients.

 

Having spent most of the day on the phone again to various helplines etc. and the council, I am getting nowhere. Remmember it is my partner that has been made bankrupt because the house is in her name.

 

I have again made an offer of full payment to the council but again they have said I will have to deal with the company they hired, Incasso of Leeds, and make the payment to them as it is now out of the council's hands. However that company refuse to deal with me as the bankrupcy is in my partners name, not mine.

 

After 5 phone calls to the council I have finally secured a meeting with them although I have been warned that ultimately it won't get me anywhere and I will be referred back to Incasso.

 

My argument is that I am willing to pay and would have paid if I had known about the hearing in advance rather than land ourselves with a load of additional unneccesary debt in fees etc, which I understand are now likely to be between £3,000 and £20,000 and will again set us back years.

 

I feel it is very wrong of the council to refuse to accept my offer of full payment and leave me in a position where I cannot reach an agreement with Incasso because they will not speak to me! I'm basically trying to find a reason to get the action overturned so that I will save a lot of additional expense but my partner briefly spoke to Incasso and they just aren't interested and say that everything now has to go through the official receiver.

 

Nobody I speak to seems to think it is a good idea to try to get it overturned as all the other party have to do is say they issued the relevant documents. How do I prove we didn't get them? You can't!

 

Frankly I am thinking of ignoring everybody and paying the council directly using one of the bank payment slips. the council say it's too late to do this but surely when the money is in their bank it's too late to return it. they have suggested that it has to be sent to the receiver but since I and not my partner will be making the payment I don't see how they can stop it. Hard to know what to do for the best. Been phoning CAB for three days now, you just can't get through.

I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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What is the proof that the documents were never served? Presumably there is a "Standard of Proof" in this higher court that the documents were or were not served; what is the standard and what would be accepted as evidence either way?

 

If all the Bailiff have to do is state that the documents were served, it doesn't seem a very fair or strong legal test to me and does not seem to align with just about any other legal test I heard of. I would expect there to be some burden of proof on them; a signature by the recipient, a sworn witness, police evidence, a video recording, etc etc. Things this big cannot simply rely on an individual's statement that documents were served... it's simply not a reliable test.

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