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How A Greek Citizen Can Declare Himself Bankrupt In The Uk

How A Greek Citizen Can Declare Himself Bankrupt In The Uk

Under the EC Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings if you live in a member state, except Denmark, you can only open insolvency proceedings (make yourself bankrupt) in the country where you have your “centre of main interests” or COMI.

There is no definition of a centre of main interests but the Court will usually regard the country where you carry on a business or earn your living as your centre of main interest. The Court will also consider the place where you normally live, i.e. your country of habitual residence. If you are not employed or self-employed your centre of main interests will be the country you normally live in at the date of the petition.

When the petition has been presented and the bankruptcy order made the Official Receiver is able where he has suspicions as to the legitimacy of the COMI to make enquiries to establish whether or not the order has been correctly made in the UK.

The guidance suggests that this will most likely be done when:-

The debtor is a foreign national who appears to have been resident in the UK for less than 12 months and;
All the debts disclosed are to creditors outside the UK.

An initial contact form may be used to verify whether or not the COMI has been correctly stated.

The further investigations which can be pursued are as follows.

A check can be made on the address given to see that it is occupied by the petitioner and not merely an agents address.
Evidence of settlement in the UK can be obtained such as telephone bills hosing UK calls, credit card statement showing UK purchases, shopping receipts and cash point withdrawal slips.
Details of the bankrupts NI number and of his employment contract plus UK tax reference.
Has the Petitioner informed his creditors of his move to the UK
Is the command of the language commensurate with the employment being undertaken. This helps verify whether the employment is genuine or not.

Where investigations reveal that the COMI has been correctly stated, then the process must proceed in exactly the same way as for any other bankruptcy.

There is no definition of what the COMI is but is has been said that “The ‘centre of main interests’ should correspond to the place where the debtor conducts the administration of his interests on a regular basis and is therefore ascertainable by third parties”.

In broad terms this will be the country in which the debtor mainly carries out their trade, profession or self employment. Where the debtor does not trade or carry on a profession, the state in which he/she habitually resides is considered to be the COMI

The COMI is determined at the date the petition is presented and not where, historically, the relevant activity was carried out. Therefore, the location of creditors and the country in which debts were incurred are not material issues in determining a COMI.

Official receivers have been told to note that the majority of EU citizens who seek the protection of the bankruptcy court will have genuinely relocated to the UK.  They may have decided to move simply to take advantage of more favourable insolvency legislation but, crucially, so long as the re-location is real then the bankruptcy order would be correctly made in the UK.  In summary, it is the fact of the relocation, rather than the intention behind, the re-location which is the decisive factor.

For personal contact, email sthatcher@helpwithdebtuk.com. If you have any debt problem whatsover either personal or corporate make Steve your first call on 0808 160 5577. All telephone advice is free.

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