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What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legally declared inability to pay your creditors. Your creditors may file a bankruptcy petition against you in order to recoup a portion of what they are owed. In the majority of cases, however, it is you (the debtor) that initiates proceedings. This is known as a 'Voluntary Bankruptcy'.
Current bankruptcy law in England and Wales derives in large from the Insolvency Act 1986. Following the introduction of the Enterprise Act 2002, a bankruptcy in the UK will now normally last no longer than 12 months and may actually be less if the Official Receiver files a certificate in court that his investigations are complete.
Alternatives To Bankruptcy
As an alternative to bankruptcy a debtor may propose an IVA to his creditors (see Part VIII of the Insolvency Act 1986) or a debt relief order if debts do not exceed a certain threshold.