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An Act to consolidate the Law relating to Bankruptcy.
[10th August 1914.]
OE it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
PROCEEDINGS FROM ACT OF BANKRUPTCY TO DISCHARGE.
Acts of Bankruptcy.
1.-(1.) A debtor commits an act of bankruptcy in each of the following cases :(a) If in England or elsewhere he makes a conveyance or assignment of his property to a trustee or trustees for the benefit of his creditors generally;
(b) If in England or elsewhere he makes a fraudulent conveyance, gift, delivery, or transfer of his property, or of any part thereof; (c) If in England or elsewhere he makes any conveyance or transfer
of his property or any part thereof, or creates any charge thereon, which would under this or any other Act be void as a fraudulent preference if he were adjudged bankrupt; (d) If with intent to defeat or delay his creditors he does any of the following things, namely, departs out of England, or being out of England remains out of England, or departs from his dwellinghouse, or otherwise absents himself, or begins to keep house; (e) If execution against him has been levied by seizure of his goods under process in an action in any court, or in any civil proceeding in the High Court, and the goods have been either sold or held by the sheriff for twenty-one days:
Provided that, where an interpleader summons has been taken out in regard to the goods seized, the time elapsing between the date at which such summons is taken out and the date at which the proceedings on such summons are finally disposed of, settled, or abandoned, shall not be taken into account in calculating such period of twenty-one days; (f) If he files in the court a declaration of his inability to pay his debts or presents a bankruptcy petition against himself; (g) If a creditor has obtained a final judgment or final order against him for any amount, and, execution thereon not having been stayed, has served on him in England, or, by leave of the court, elsewhere, a bankruptcy notice under this Act, and he does not, within seven days after service of the notice, in case the service is effected in England, and in case the service is effected elsewhere, then within the time limited in that behalf by the order giving leave to effect the service, either comply with the requirements of the notice or satisfy the court that he has a counter-claim set off or cross demand which equals or exceeds the amount of the judgment debt or sum ordered to be paid, and which he could not set up in the action in which the judgment was obtained, or the proceedings in which the order was obtained:
For the purposes of this paragraph and of section two of this Act, any person who is, for the time being, entitled to enforce a final judgment or final order, shall be deemed to be a creditor who has obtained a final judgment or final order. (h) If the debtor gives notice to any of his creditors that he has suspended, or that he is about to suspend, payment of his debts.
Acts of bankruptcy.
Jurisdiction to make receiving order.
Conditions on which creditor may petition.
(2) In this Act, the expression "a debtor," unless the context otherwise implies, includes any person, whether a British subject or not, who at the time when any act of bankruptcy was done or suffered by him(a) was personally present in England; or
(b) ordinarily resided or had a place of residence in England; or
an agent or manager; or
(d) was a member of a firm or partnership which carried on business in England.
2. A bankruptcy notice under this Act shall be in the prescribed form, and shall require the debtor to pay the judgment debt or sum ordered to be paid in accordance with the terms of the judgment or order, or to secure or compound for it to the satisfaction of the creditor or the court, and shall state the consequences of non-compliance with the notice, and shall be served in the prescribed manner : Provided that a bankruptcy notice
(i) may specify an agent to act on behalf of the creditor in respect of any payment or other thing required by the notice to be made to, or done to the satisfaction of, the creditor;
(ii) shall not be invalidated by reason only that the sum specified in the notice as the amount due exceeds the amount actually due, unless the debtor within the time allowed for payment gives notice to the creditor that he disputes the validity of the notice on the ground of such misstatement; but, if the debtor does not give such notice, he shall be deemed to have complied with the bankruptcy notice if within the time allowed he takes such steps as would have constituted a compliance with the notice had the actual amount due been correctly specified therein.
3. Subject to the conditions hereinafter specified, if a debtor commits an act of bankruptcy the court may, on a bankruptcy petition being presented either by a creditor or by the debtor, make an order, in this Act called a receiving order, for the protection of the estate.
4.-(1) A creditor shall not be entitled to present a bankruptcy petition against a debtor unless
(a) the debt owing by the debtor to the petitioning creditor, or, if two or more creditors join in the petition, the aggregate amount of debts owing to the several petitioning creditors, amounts to fifty pounds, and
(b) the debt is a liquidated sum, payable either immediately or at some certain future time, and
(c) the act of bankruptcy on which the petition is grounded has occurred within three months before the presentation of the petition, and
(d) the debtor is domiciled in England, or within a year before the date of the presentation of the petition has ordinarily resided, or had a dwelling-house or place of business, in England, or (except in the case of a person domiciled in Scotland or Ireland or a firm or partnership having its principal place of business in Scotland or Ireland) has carried on business in England, personally or by means of an agent or manager, or (except as aforesaid) is or within the said period has been a member of a firm or partnership of persons which has carried on business in England by means of a partner or partners, or an agent or
nor, where a deed of arrangement has been executed, shall a creditor be entitled to present a bankruptcy petition founded on the execution of the deed, or on any other act committed by the debtor in the course or for the purpose of the proceedings preliminary to the execution of
the deed, in cases where he is prohibited from so doing by the law for the time being in force relating to deeds of arrangement.
(2) If the petitioning creditor is a secured creditor, he must in his petition either state that he is willing to give up his security for the benefit of the creditors in the event of the debtor being adjudged bankrupt, or give an estimate of the value of his security. In the latter case, he may be admitted as a petitioning creditor to the extent of the balance of the debt due to him, after deducting the value so estimated in the same manner as if he were an unsecured creditor.
5.—(1) A creditor's petition shall be verified by affidavit of the Proceedings and creditor, or of some person on his behalf having knowledge of the facts, and served in the prescribed manner.
(2) At the hearing the court shall require proof of the debt of the petitioning creditor, of the service of the petition, and of the act of bankruptcy, or, if more than one act of bankruptcy is alleged in the petition, of some one of the alleged acts of bankruptcy, and, if satisfied with the proof, may make a receiving order in pursuance of the petition.
(3) If the court is not satisfied with the proof of the petitioning creditor's debt, or of the act of bankruptcy, or of the service of the petition, or is satisfied by the debtor that he is able to pay his debts, or that for other sufficient cause no order ought to be made, the court may dismiss the petition.
(4) When the act of bankruptcy relied on is non-compliance with a bankruptcy notice to pay, secure, or compound for a judgment debt, or sum ordered to be paid, the court may, if it thinks fit, stay or dismiss the petition on the ground that an appeal is pending from the judgment or order.
(5) Where the debtor appears on the petition, and denies that he is indebted to the petitioner, or that he is indebted to such an amount as would justify the petitioner in presenting a petition against him, the court on such security (if any) being given as the court may require for payment to the petitioner of any debt which may be established against him in due course of law, and of the costs of establishing the debt, may, instead of dismissing the petition, stay all proceedings on the petition for such time as may be required for trial of the question relating to the debt.
(6) Where proceedings are stayed, the court may, if by reason of the delay caused by the stay of proceedings or for any other cause it thinks just, make a receiving order on the petition of some other creditor, and shall thereupon dismiss, on such terms as it thinks just, the petition in which proceedings have been stayed as aforesaid.
(7) A creditor's petition shall not, after presentment, be withdrawn without the leave of the court.
6. (1) A debtor's petition shall allege that the debtor is unable to pay his debts, and the presentation thereof shall be deemed an act of bankruptcy without the previous filing by the debtor of any declaration of inability to pay his debts, and the court shall thereupon make a receiving order.
(2) A debtor's petition shall not, after presentment, be withdrawn without the leave of the court.
7.—(1) On the making of a receiving order an official receiver shall be thereby constituted receiver of the property of the debtor, and thereafter, except as directed by this Act, no creditor to whom the debtor is indebted in respect of any debt provable in bankruptcy shall have any remedy against the property or person of the debtor in respect of the debt, or shall commence any action or other legal proceedings, unless with the leave of the court and on such terms as the court may impose. (2.) But this section shall not affect the power of any secured creditor to realise or otherwise deal with his security in the same manner as he would have been entitled to realise or deal with it if this section had not been passed.
Debtor's petition and
Effect of receiving order.
Power to appoint interim receiver.
Power to stay pending proceedings.
Power to appoint special manager.
Advertisement of receiving order.
Power to rescind receiving order in certain cases.
First and other meetings of creditors.
Debtor's statement of affairs.
8. The court may, if it is shown to be necessary for the protection of the estate, at any time after the presentation of a bankruptcy petition, and before a receiving order is made, appoint the official receiver to be interim receiver of the property of the debtor, or of any part thereof, and direct him to take immediate possession thereof or of any part thereof.
9.-(1) The court may, at any time after the presentation of a bankruptcy petition, stay any action, execution, or other legal process against the property or person of the debtor, and any court in which proceedings are pending against a debtor may, on proof that a bankruptcy petition has been presented by or against the debtor, either stay the proceedings or allow them to continue on such terms as it may think just.
(2) Where the court makes an order staying any action or proceeding, or staying proceedings generally, the order may be served by sending a copy thereof, under the seal of the court, by post to the address for service of the plaintiff or other party prosecuting such proceeding.
10.-(1) The official receiver of a debtor's estate may, on the application of any creditor or creditors, and if satisfied that the nature of the debtor's estate or business or the interests of the creditors generally require the appointment of a special manager of the estate or business other than the official receiver, appoint a manager thereof accordingly to act until a trustee is appointed, and with such powers (including any of the powers of a receiver) as may be entrusted to him by the official receiver.
(2) The special manager shall give security and account in such manner as the Board of Trade may direct.
(3) The special manager shall receive such remuneration as the creditors may, by resolution at an ordinary meeting, determine, or, in default of any such resolution, as may be prescribed.
11. Notice of every receiving order, stating the name, address, and description of the debtor, the date of the order, the court by which the order is made, and the date of the petition, shall be gazetted and advertised in a local paper in the prescribed manner.
12. If in any case where a receiving order has been made on a bankruptcy petition it appears to the court by which the order was made, upon an application by the official receiver, or any creditor or other person interested, that a majority of the creditors in number and value are resident in Scotland or in Ireland, and that from the situation of the property of the debtor, or other causes, his estate and effects ought to be distributed among the creditors under the law relating to bankruptcy in Scotland or Ireland, the court, after such inquiry as it may think fit, may rescind the receiving order and stay all proceedings on, or dismiss the petition upon such terms, if any, as the court may think fit.
Proceedings consequent on Order.
13. (1) As soon as may be after the making of a receiving order against a debtor a general meeting of his creditors (in this Act referred to as the first meeting of creditors) shall be held for the purpose of considering whether a proposal for a composition or scheme of arrangement shall be accepted, or whether it is expedient that the debtor shall be adjudged bankrupt, and generally as to the mode of dealing with the debtor's property.
(2) With respect to the summoning of and proceedings at the first and other meetings of creditors, the rules in the First Schedule to this Act shall be observed.
14.-(1) Where a receiving order is made against a debtor, he shall make out and submit to the official receiver a statement of and in relation to his affairs in the prescribed form, verified by affidavit, and showing the particulars of the debtor's assets, debts and liabilities, the names,
residences and occupations of his creditors, the securities held by them respectively, the dates when the securities were respectively given, and such further or other information as may be prescribed or as the official receiver may require.
(2) The statement shall be so submitted within the following times, namely:
(i) If the order is made on the petition of the debtor, within three days from the date of the order:
(ii) If the order is made on the petition of a creditor, within seven days from the date of the order:
but the court may, in either case for special reasons, extend the time. (3) If the debtor fails without reasonable excuse to comply with the requirements of this section, the court may, on the application of the official receiver, or of any creditor, adjudge him bankrupt.
(4) Any person stating himself in writing to be a creditor of the bankrupt may, personally or by agent, inspect the statement at all reasonable times, and take any copy thereof or extract therefrom, but any person untruthfully so stating himself to be a creditor shall be guilty of a contempt of court, and shall be punishable accordingly on the application of the trustee or official receiver.
Public Examination of Debtor.
15.-(1) Where the court makes a receiving order, it shall, save as Public examinain this Act provided, hold a public sitting, on a day to be appointed by tlon of debtor. the court, for the examination of the debtor, and the debtor shall attend thereat, and shall be examined as to his conduct, dealings, and property.
(2) The examination shall be held as soon as conveniently may be after the expiration of the time for the submission of the debtor's statement of affairs.
(3) The court may adjourn the examination from time to time.
(4) Any creditor who has tendered a proof, or his representative authorised in writing, may question the debtor concerning his affairs and the causes of his failure.
(5) The official receiver shall take part in the examination of the debtor; and for the purpose thereof, if specially authorised by the Board of Trade, may employ a solicitor with or without counsel.
(6) If a trustee is appointed before the conclusion of the examination, he may take part therein.
(7) The court may put such questions to the debtor as it may think expedient.
(8) The debtor shall be examined upon oath, and it shall be his duty to answer all such questions as the court may put or allow to be put to him. Such notes of the examination as the court thinks proper shall be taken down in writing, and shall be read over either to or by the debtor and signed by him, and may thereafter, save as in this Act provided, be used in evidence against him; they shall also be open to the inspection of any creditor at all reasonable times.
(9) When the court is of opinion that the affairs of the debtor have been sufficiently investigated, it shall by order declare that his examination is concluded, but such order shall not be made until after the day appointed for the first meeting of creditors.
(10) Where the debtor is a lunatic or suffers from any such mental or physical affliction or disability as in the opinion of the court makes him unfit to attend his public examination, the court may make an order dispensing with such examination, or directing that the debtor be examined on such terms, in such manner, and at such place as to the court seems expedient.
Composition or Scheme of Arrangement.
16. (1) Where a debtor intends to make a proposal for a composition Compositions in satisfaction of his debts, or a proposal for a scheme of arrangement and schemes of of his affairs, he shall, within four days of submitting his statement of arrangement.