Surge in Irish people applying for bankruptcy in England and Wales

Figures from Britain’s Insolvency Service indicated signficant rise in people with Irish addresses applying for bankruptcy

Mon, May 27, 2013, 16:34

The number of people with Irish addresses applying for bankruptcy in either England or Wales has risen significantly, according to figures from Britain’s Insolvency Service.

Last year, there were 75 bankruptcy cases involving debtors who gave an address in the Republic, compared with 28 in 2011 and just 15 in 2010.

The figures from the Insolvency Service, however, do not necessarily indicate the number of debtors who have relocated from Ireland to the UK specifically to obtain a bankruptcy order.

According to the agency, some of the addresses may be old addresses and the debtor may have been located in the UK for some time, prior to entering bankruptcy.

Separate data, collated by the agency from official receivers in the UK, shows 35 individuals moved from Ireland to England or Wales solely for the purposes of entering bankruptcy last year, up from 13 the previous year.

The information was disclosed to Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath on foot of a written request.

Under UK insolvency law, the period of bankruptcy typically lasts for just one year.

Traditionally, a much more onerous term of up to 12 years applied in the Republic.

However, under the newly established personal insolvency legislation, the term has been reduced to three years, albeit with certain conditions, for with people with debts of under €3 million.

Mr McGrath said: “It remained to be seen if the reduced term would stem the tide of individuals seeking year-long bankruptcies in Britain”.

Britain’s Insolvency Service deals solely with bankruptcies in England and Wales. Bankruptcies in Scotland and Northern Ireland are dealt with by the Accountant in Bankruptcy agency in Scotland and Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland.

About 150,000 mortgages are in arrears of more than 90 days, affecting up to 500,000 people, according to recent figures from the Insolvency Service of Ireland.

The Government has estimated about 18,000 people will apply for personal insolvency schemes in first year but industry estimates put it at 25,000-40,000, excluding up to 7,000 bankrupts.