When presenting bankruptcy petitions anywhere in the country, it is now necessary to conduct a search for prior petitions against the debtor in the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ), Central London County Court and at any other county court, which it is believed was the debtor’s local court, for the 18 month period prior to issue. There is no requirement to search with HM Land Registry.
The practice direction also requires that a certificate providing confirmation of the searches appears at the end of the petition.
In order to conduct a search in the debtor’s own county court, a letter should be written to the relevant local county court enclosing a fee of £45. It is now not possible for this search to be conducted at the court counter in person. The court staff will conduct the relevant search and provide confirmation that it is clear.
Searches within the RCJ and the Central London County Court
The RCJ and the Central London County Court staff will not conduct the searches themselves. A representative of the petitioner is required to attend court in person to conduct searches on computer terminals located in the Thomas More Building of the RCJ and attract a £7.00 court fee for each session at the terminal. The computers in the Thomas More Building cover both the High Court and the Central London County Court.
The computers are only accessible to individuals attending if they present to the court a letter explaining the need to conduct a bankruptcy search. The letter should enclose a copy of the draft bankruptcy petition and should be written by either the petitioning creditor or the creditors solicitors.
This can cause difficulties when the petitioning creditor or the creditor’s solicitors are situated outside London, but an agent can be instructed (at a fee) to attend the RCJ to carry out the search in person.