Confirmed increases to official receiver deposits
7th September, 2022
The Insolvency Service announced on the 5th September that it would be increasing the Official Receiver's Deposit on all creditor instigated bankruptcy and compulsory liquidation proceedings.
This will greatly increase the impact on the costs for creditors, of insolvency proceedings, against debtors and in some cases it will make it not commercially viable to pursue a debt.
The increase will take effect from 1 November 2022 and will be as follows:
|Current Fee||Revised Fee|
|Creditors’ Bankruptcy Petition Deposit||£990||£1,500|
|Company Liquidation Petition Deposit||£1,600||£2,600|
To present a bankruptcy petition against a debtor, the creditor is required to be owed over a statutory threshold of £5000. To present a winding up petition against a company, the creditor has to be owed over a statutory threshold of £750. Uncontested insolvency proceedings generally cost a creditor between £2000 to £3000 which includes disbursements and legal fees. The deposit is required to be paid upfront to commence both bankruptcy and winding up proceedings. The Insolvency Service say that the deposit partially funds the initial administration costs incurred by the Official Receiver during the course of their preliminary investigations.
How will this affect creditors?
The increase will see a creditor’s bankruptcy petition deposit increase by c.51% and the company liquidation deposit by 62.5%. The Insolvency Service have stated that the increase is due to historically low insolvency cases and the majority of the remaining cases not having sufficient asset value to fund preliminary investigations. The Insolvency Service reason that the increase will allow it to administer and investigate insolvencies effectively whilst maximising outcomes for creditors.
The creditor may, however, feel that the increase is just another restriction to the limited remedies afforded to it when dealing with bad debts and debtors. The cynical creditor may even say that the government is only implementing the increases to curve/deter insolvency proceedings to make it appear that the economy is recovering.
What should the creditor do?
We would suggest that creditors review their bad debt ledgers and, where they have been contemplating issuing a petition, make sure that these are drafted and filed with the court before 1 November 2022. This will save the creditor significantly on costs. Post 1 November 2022, creditors will have to be a lot more diligent on weighing up the costs risks of presenting a petition. The creditor will need to consider the value of the debt and whether the debtor has assets to realise once the Order is granted and the subsequent insolvency process has concluded.
Alternatively, Ward Hadaway’s expert Debt Solicitors can assist with early case assessments to determine whether insolvency proceedings are worthwhile. This will ensure that legal budgets are targeted at cases where the creditor stands to recover their costs from either the debtor by way of settlement or out of the estate.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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