Are you now living in Europe but still have your old UK debts? If so, the first thing to realise is that the Bankruptcy law applicable to ex-UK residents living in a European Country is vastly different to the laws that apply when you live outside of Europe.
To make matters more confusing are you living in a European Member State or a European Non Member State?
To clarify this situation there are 28 member states within the European Union. If you live in one of these states the law is fairly straightforward-you would be directed to your local Court to file your Bankruptcy. There may be exceptions to this rule if you centre of main interest can be proven to be within England or Wales. In most cases where people reside in a European Member State you would be directed to declare yourself bankrupt through the local Court, whether that is a Spanish or German Court this is where you would be directed to.
Bankruptcy laws in European Countries vary depending on where you live but as an example if you live in Germany and file for Bankruptcy you would be in Bankruptcy for seven years compared to one year if you file for Bankruptcy in England or Wales. For this reason the UK has see a rise in Bankruptcy Tourism where (for instance) a German resident may move to England thus changing their centre of main interests from Germany to England. Once the centre of main interest has changed a European Citizen may apply for Bankruptcy in England and benefit from a much shorter Bankruptcy duration.
Time limits in Bankruptcy
As previously mentioned, the main difference in relation to Bankruptcy from a European Country relates to whether the Country is a member state of the European Union. If you move to a non-European Country you have a time limit of three years in which to file for bankruptcy. If you have moved to live in a European non member state, this rule will also apply to your situation.
Unfortunately we can rarely handle cases where a person lives in a European member state. We can, if you return to the UK, prepare your bankruptcy and after your Centre of Main Interest changes from Europe back to England you can then file for Bankruptcy. This would be handled through the County Court local to where your UK address is.
This is, in many cases, the best option for people that are living in a European Member State and need to declare bankruptcy.
If you are unsure how these rules may apply to your situation please feel free to complete our short application form and an advisor will contact you to discuss your circumstances.
Normally there is nothing to stop you returning back to the European Country that you have lived in, after the bankruptcy has been approved in the UK. You must, of course, deal with any enquiries that the Official Receiver has before you do this, but as long as you are clear in your intentions there should be no problem doing this. While bankrupt you are under obligation to inform the Insolvency Service of any change of address, so if you intend to move back to Europe you must contact the Insolvency Service to discuss this situation.
Assisted Bankruptcy in a non EU State within Europe
We can help you if you live outside of the European Union but within Europe. If you live in one of the 19 non member states you fall under different laws with regard to Insolvency.
Due to the constantly changing nature of Europe and the associated bankruptcy legislation we recommend contacting our company to discuss your particular situation.
Feel free to speak with one of our advisors or complete our short questionnaire.