Grounds of creditor’s petition
241. (1) A creditor’s petition must be in respect of one or more debts owed by the debtor, and the petitioning creditor or each of the petitioning creditors must be a person to whom the debt or (as the case may be) at least one of the debts is owed.
(2) Subject to Articles 242 to 244, a creditor’s petition may be presented to the High Court in respect of a debt or debts only if, at the time the petition is presented—
(a)the amount of the debt, or the aggregate amount of the debts, is equal to or exceeds the bankruptcy level,
(b)the debt, or each of the debts, is for a liquidated sum payable to the petitioning creditor, or one or more of the petitioning creditors, either immediately or at some certain, future time, and is unsecured,
(c)the debt, or each of the debts, is a debt which the debtor appears either to be unable to pay or to have no reasonable prospect of being able to pay, and
(d)there is no outstanding application to set aside a statutory demand served (under Article 242) in respect of the debt or any of the debts.
(3) “The bankruptcy level” is £750; but the Department may by order subject to affirmative resolution substitute any amount specified in the order for that amount or (as the case may be) for the amount which by virtue of such an order is for the time being the amount of the bankruptcy level.
Definition of “inability to pay”, etc.; the statutory demand
242. (1) For the purposes of Article 241(2)(c), the debtor appears to be unable to pay a debt if, but only if, the debt is payable immediately and either—
(a)the petitioning creditor to whom the debt is owed has served on the debtor a demand (known as “the statutory demand”) in the prescribed form requiring him to pay the debt or to secure or compound for it to the satisfaction of the creditor, at least 3 weeks have elapsed since the demand was served and the demand has been neither complied with nor set aside in accordance with the rules; or
(b)a certificate of unenforceability has been granted under Article 19 of the Judgments Enforcement (Northern Ireland) Order 1981(1) in respect of the debt on a judgment or order of any court in favour of the petitioning creditor, or one or more of the petitioning creditors to whom the debt is owed.
(2) For the purposes of Article 241(2)(c) the debtor appears to have no reasonable prospect of being able to pay a debt if, but only if, the debt is not immediately payable and—
(a)the petitioning creditor to whom it is owed has served on the debtor a demand (also known as “the statutory de-mand”) in the prescribed form requiring him to establish to the satisfaction of the creditor that there is a reasonable prospect that the debtor will be able to pay the debt when it falls due,
(b)at least 3 weeks have elapsed since the demand was served, and
(c)the demand has been neither complied with nor set aside in accordance with the rules.
Creditor with security
243. (1) A debt which is the debt, or one of the debts, in respect of which a creditor’s petition is presented need not be unsecured if either—
(a)the petition contains a statement by the person having the right to enforce the security that he is willing, in the event of a bankruptcy order being made, to give up his security for the benefit of all the bankrupt’s creditors, or
(b)the petition is expressed not to be made in respect of the secured part of the debt and contains a statement by that person of the estimated value at the date of the petition of the security for the secured part of the debt.
(2) In a case falling within paragraph (1)(b) the secured and unsecured parts of the debt are to be treated for the purposes of Articles 241 to 2 44 as separate debts.
244. In the case of a creditor’s petition presented wholly or partly in respect of a debt which is the subject of a statutory demand under Article 242, the petition may be presented before the expiration of the period of 3 weeks mentioned in that Article if there is a serious possibility that the debtor’s property or the value of any of his property will be significantly diminished during that period and the petition contains a statement to that effect.
Proceedings on creditor’s petition
245. (1) The High Court shall not make a bankruptcy order on a creditor’s petition unless it is satisfied that the debt, or one of the debts, in respect of which the petition was presented is either—
(a)a debt which, having been payable at the date of the petition or having since become payable, has been neither paid nor secured or compounded for, or
(b)a debt which the debtor has no reasonable prospect of being able to pay when it falls due.
(2) In a case in which the petition contains such a statement as is required by Article 244, the High Court shall not make a bankruptcy order within 3 weeks from the service of any statutory demand under Article 242.
(3) The High Court may dismiss the petition if it is satisfied that the debtor is able to pay all his debts or is satisfied—
(a)that the debtor has made an offer to secure or compound for a debt in respect of which the petition is presented,
(b)that the acceptance of that offer would have required the dismissal of the petition, and
(c)that the offer has been unreasonably refused;
and, in determining for the purposes of this paragraph whether the debtor is able to pay all his debts, the Court shall take into account his contingent and prospective liabilities.
(4) In determining for the purposes of this Article what constitutes a reasonable prospect that a debtor will be able to pay a debt when it falls due, it is to be assumed that the prospect given by the facts and other matters known to the creditor at the time he entered into the transaction resulting in the debt was a reasonable prospect.
(5) Nothing in Articles 241 to 244 and this Article prejudices the power of the High Court, in accordance with the rules, to authorise a creditor’s petition to be amended by the omission of any creditor or debt and to be proceeded with as if things done for the purposes of those Articles and this Article had been done only by or in relation to the remaining creditors or debts.