This week in a court presided over by Judge McGovern there were 11 self-adjudicated bankruptcies. The first six were represented by solicitors.
In the first petition, the Judge asked for proof of efforts to reach arrangements with creditors.
He emphasised that he needs to be satisfied that actual steps were taken to negotiate with all the creditors. The solicitor said they had included a letter from PIP stating that he had reviewed matters and the best options available was bankruptcy as they were below the income level for a PIA or DSA.
Judge McGovern said that a bald statement in the affidavit that reasonable efforts have been made is not enough. All unsecured creditors, not just the bank or main creditor, must be contacted.
In the first six cases, once the judge said he was happy to adjudicate the debtor bankrupt, the solicitor asked for three orders.
1.Order specifying the date of the statutory sitting
2.Order permitting the adjudication to be published on the ISI website as per the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013.
3.Order dispensing with the requirement to file a supplementary Statement of Affairs.
Judge McGovern gave all these orders.
The next five cases were self represented, the debtor was making the application in person. He/She simply stood up when their case number was called. The judge said that he had looked at their petition/affidavit/statement of affairs and was satisfied.
However in a number of these the Statement of Affairs was not in the prescribed format (Form 23) so the judge made an order that they file another Statement of Affairs in the prescribed format. He also made orders about the statutory sitting and publication on the ISI website.
Justice McGovern also said that they needed to make themselves known to the Bankruptcy Inspector at the back of the court before leaving to arrange a meeting. He told them the Official Assignee would be in contact with them in relation to meeting.
The debtors didn’t need to say anything. They literally just stood up for a few minutes and that was it. This is a welcome development as the humane treatment of debtors in the courts is vital for solutions to work and be availed of.