Who is the Official Receiver?

The Official Receiver, sometimes abbreviated to 'the OR', is a civil servant the Insolvency Service who acts as an officer of the Court in personal bankruptcy cases.

They are responsible for carrying out the orders of the Court to which they are attached and they are bound by law to fulfill their duties to the Courts in England and Wales.

They also take direction, instruction and guidance from the Inspector General of the Insolvency Service and, less frequently, from the Secretary for Trade and Industry.

Official Receiver's Duties

The duty of the Official Receiver in a personal Bankruptcy is to act as an interim receiver and manager when a Bankruptcy Order is issued.

The Official Receiver will take immediate action to gather and protect an individuals property and other assets for the benefit of their creditors, whilst investigating the underlying cause of the bankruptcy.

Official Receiver interview

The Official Receiver, or one of their staff, is duty bound to examine the financial circumstances of the person declared bankrupt.

They will arrange an interview, either a face to face meeting, or a telephone interview, in order to establish the circumstances surrounding the cause of bankruptcy, whilst assessing the assets and liabilities of the individual concerned.

After the interview has taken place and the assessment is completed, they then report to the bankrupt's creditors, outlining their financial position.

The Official Receiver remain responsible for monitoring the bankrupt's affairs whilst they are restricted by their Bankruptcy Order. This is usually 12 months, but can be any length of time up to 15 years.

Appointing a trustee

The Official Receiver will then seek to appoint an Insolvency Practitioner to act as Trustee, to liquidate any assets the bankrupt owns.

A Creditors' Meeting will be called in order that the creditors might appoint a trustee for themselves, or one will be appointed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

The Official Receiver can also act as the trustee, if an Insolvency Practitioner from the private sector is not appointed.

Obstructing the Official Receiver

The bankruptcy process requires the bankrupt to comply with the Official Receiver's requests and for them to provide information as and when required.

Failure to co-operate with the Official Receiver will not only lengthen the whole investigative stage of the bankruptcy, but it could also result in an application to the Court for your public examination in open court.

Furthermore, it could also result in a Bankruptcy Restriction Order being imposed against you.

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