Refusal to Cooperate Spells Trouble

Being made bankrupt is never a welcome experience, but failing to comply with reasonable requests of the Official Receiver can make matters even worse.

Once a person is made bankrupt, they are required to deliver a statement of affairs within 21 days and to deliver to the Official Receiver all relevant books, records and papers in their possession.

In a recent case, a man had failed to provide the Official Receiver with the information requested after he had been adjudged bankrupt. His non-cooperation was total, leading the Official Receiver's representative to give evidence that he 'has not provided any information in writing or orally about his assets and liabilities, and…has not complied with any obligation that would enable the Official Receiver to investigate his conduct or financial position'.

After he had been given several chances to put matters right, the case returned to court where the judge concluded that there was nothing in his 'evidence or the documents before the court which is capable of constituting reasonable excuse for failure to comply with the obligations'.

The man was found guilty of contempt of court, and his punishment was an immediate term of imprisonment of eight months.