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Enterprise Act 2002

Section 258: Investigation by official receiver

753.Currently, under section 289 Insolvency Act 1986, there is a duty on the Official Receiver to investigate the conduct and affairs of every bankrupt and to make any report to the court that he or she thinks fit, except in summary cases when the Official Receiver will only investigate if he or she deems it necessary. This distinction is made on the basis that cases with relatively small unsecured liabilities (summary cases with unsecured liabilities of less than £20,000 – often consumer bankruptcies) do not require as extensive a use of the Official Receiver’s resources as those involving large debts with greater losses to the creditors. However, there are cases where the bankrupt’s debts are large (for example, where the liabilities of a limited company are guaranteed) in which no investigation is required or some small, yet complex, cases that require extensive investigation.

754.Section 258 inserts a new section 289 into the Insolvency Act 1986 that removes this automatic obligation to investigate every case and provides that the Official Receiver is only required to investigate the conduct and affairs of any bankrupt where he or she think it necessary). Subsections (3) and (4) of the new provision merely re-enact the old section 289(2) and (3).

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