In most cases, no you will not have to attend at court if you file personal bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act enables a first time bankrupt to be discharged without going to court.
Bankruptcy law works as follows:
- If the bankrupt completes his duties, makes the required payments, and co-operates with the trustee, and no one opposes the discharge, a discharge will occur automatically after nine months.
- If however, the bankrupt does not complete his duties or his payments, the trustee will oppose the discharge and unless the issues can be completed within the nine months, the bankrupt will be required to attend a discharge hearing at court sometime after the nine months.
A creditor can also oppose a bankrupt’s discharge and in this case, the bankrupt will be required to attend the discharge hearing unless the creditor withdraws the opposition.
At the court hearing the Registrar, a person who is like a judge, will make the decision as to what type of discharge the bankrupt will receive. The decision will be based on the facts and documents presented at the hearing. The trustee does not act for the bankrupt at this hearing, as sometimes they have opposed the bankrupt’s discharge, and do not act even when it is a creditor who has opposed the discharge. In some locations, second time bankrupts are required to attend a court hearing.
As the bankrupt is usually aware of the circumstances as to why the discharge hearing is called, it is their decision as to whether they will obtain legal representation for the discharge hearing.
At Hoyes, Michalos we will explain your duties in full before you go bankrupt, and if a court hearing is required we will explain in detail what will happen at the hearing. Obviously it is in everyone’s best interests if you can complete your duties during the bankruptcy period, and then a court hearing will not be required.