Q&As

Is a trustee in bankruptcy (trustee) able to obtain copies of the bankrupt’s files from the bankrupt’s previous solicitors without incurring any copying fees? If so, what is the authority for this?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Adams of Gosschalks
Published on LexisPSL on 12/04/2018

The following Restructuring & Insolvency Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Adams of Gosschalks provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is a trustee in bankruptcy (trustee) able to obtain copies of the bankrupt’s files from the bankrupt’s previous solicitors without incurring any copying fees? If so, what is the authority for this?

Upon bankruptcy, the bankrupt’s estate vests in the trustee immediately upon their appointment taking effect (section 306 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986)).

You may find: Definition of the bankruptcy estate and which assets vest in the trustee in bankruptcy—overview useful for your purposes.

Should documents such as a file of papers held by the bankrupt’s former solicitors not be provided, the trustee can of course use their powers under IA 1986, s 366 to force the former solicitors to disclose them.

The question as to who is responsible for any copying fees incurred by the former solicitors depends on the ownership of the file and the papers contained within it. As set out above, if the whole file belonged to the client (who is now the bankrupt) that vests in the trustee upon their appointment taking effect and belongs to them—they therefore own the file held by the former solicitors. If the former solicitors wish to make a copy of the original file for their records, that is up to them and they will be re

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