Bankruptcy Tourism / Forum Shopping for bankruptcy. Can I Move To The UK And Go Bankrupt?

Forum shopping (or "bankruptcy tourism") is a term used to describe the process of a person moving overseas in order to go bankrupt in a different country. Bankruptcy tourism is for many people in Ireland with over-whelming debts a real option as Irish bankruptcy laws are very penal and out of step with many other European countries. European laws enable people that have moved to another country within Europe and can prove that they are resident there to petition for bankruptcy using the local insolvency laws in that country.

It is possible to change a person's Residence and Domicile from, say, Ireland to that of, say Britain or Northern Ireland, where the bankruptcy regime is much more favourable to the bankrupt debtor in terms of the length of the bankruptcy. An individual declared bankrupt in the Republic of Ireland is bankrupt for 12 years, whilst in the UK an individual declared bankrupt is discharged from bankruptcy (and therefore has completely discharge their debts) after just 1 year. Some very straightforward cases can last just 6 months. For many people in Ireland bankruptcy tourism is likely to mean moving to the UK where English bankruptcy laws are much softer and leaving them completely debt free after a year. Personal bankruptcy is a debt solution much more commonly used abroad than in the Republic of Ireland. In the UK for example over 78,000 individuals went personally bankrupt in 2010. In the US in 2010 there were more than 1,300,000 personal bankruptcies. In Ireland in the same year number of people entering bankruptcy was just 28.

In addition, a faster bankruptcy process may have significant benefits for a bankrupt in areas such as pensions and expected inheritances.

In the United Kingdom, the position of your pension may depend on:

  • the date you were made bankrupt;
  • whether you have been discharged from bankruptcy or not;
  • whether your pension is an occupational pension or a personal pension.

The United Kingdom Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 protects all pensions arising from tax-approved pension schemes against being part of a bankrupt's estate, for anyone made bankrupt after 29 May 2000. So, the Trustee in bankruptcy cannot control the pension to pay off creditors.

If a bankrupt debtor is prepared to change their place of Residence and Domicile, we can provide advice on the best jurisdiction and guide them through the process to ensure that the bankruptcy process is completed in the fastest possible time.

Is declaring myself Bankrupt the right thing for me?


  • All the debts you owe are written off (except for some debts such as child maintenance payments etc).
  • There is no more pressure as you don't have deal with your creditors anymore. Once a bankruptcy order has been made, your creditors can no longer pursue you for payment.
  • Creditors have to stop tracking you for the owed debts and make their claim to the trustee instead.
  • You are allowed to keep certain items, such as household goods and a reasonable amount to live on, with the consent of the Trustee.
  • It's the opportunity for a financial start over.
  • You can make a fresh start one year after the bankruptcy order is over.


  • After bankruptcy, you may find it difficult getting access to credit.
  • If you own your own home, it might have to be sold. This differs depending on your particular circumstances and in what jurisdiction you declare bankruptcy. Please feel free to meet with one of our Partners in confidence, to discuss your particular circumstances. All conversations are conducted on a completely confidential and discreet basis.
  • The Official Receiver may make you sell your most expensive and valuable assets, for example, it’s likely you will lose your car and any luxury items you own.
  • If you have a business, it's more than likely that the Official Receiver will close down the business, dismiss your employees and sell off the assets.
  • The court can order part of the bankrupt’s salary to be deducted to pay creditors (until the individual is discharged from bankruptcy).
  • Bankruptcy is not kept private. A list of bankrupt people is published on the internet and your case could also be published in a local newspaper.
  • An individual declared bankrupt cannot be a director in a company (until discharged from bankruptcy) without the permission of the court, and they cannot hold certain positions as an elected representative.
  • If you are a professional, your status can be lost.
  • When you are no longer bankrupt you could have another order, called a bankruptcy restriction order, made against you. These orders can be made, for example, where you did not co-operate with the Official Receiver, or you took on debts knowing that you had no hope of paying them back. They can last for 15 years and will make your financial affairs very restricted.

All queries will be dealt with the utmost confidentiality.

We are here to help you.