Evidence and evidence gathering—public examination of the bankrupt
Produced in partnership with Graham McPhie of Moon Beever
Evidence and evidence gathering—public examination of the bankrupt

The following Restructuring & Insolvency practice note produced in partnership with Graham McPhie of Moon Beever provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Evidence and evidence gathering—public examination of the bankrupt
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • CPR 71

Under section 15 of the Bankruptcy Act 1914 (the predecessor to the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986)), a public examination was required in every case where a debtor was adjudged bankrupt.

The provisions of the IA 1986 remove the necessity to hold a public examination in each case but allow the official receiver (OR) to apply to court for the bankrupt’s public examination prior to the bankrupt’s discharge.

This procedure is often used where the bankrupt has failed to co-operate with the OR. While the examination is not to be used as a fishing exercise, it does allow for information to be collated which will assist the OR and/or any subsequently appointed trustee in bankruptcy with their enquiries.

An application for public examination must be made by the OR. However, unless the court orders otherwise, the OR can be compelled to make such an application by a creditor with the concurrence of not less than 50% of the creditors by value.

Unless the case is an exceptional one where a public examination would serve no useful purpose, upon the OR's application, the court must direct that the bankrupt shall attend at a venue appointed by the court and be publicly examined as to their affairs, dealings and property.

The order for examination must have the title ‘Order for Public Examination’ and must contain:

  1. identification details for the proceedings

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