Section 269 & Schedule 23: Minor and consequential amendments
784.Section 269 gives effect to Schedule 23, which makes minor and consequential amendments to the Insolvency Act 1986 as a result of the changes being made in the Act. Some of these amendments, such as those made because of the removal of summary bankruptcy, have been mentioned elsewhere. Paragraph 14 reflects the fact that the Official Receiver can act as a nominee and supervisor in an individual voluntary arrangement. Therefore the appointment provisions for Official Receivers in section 399 and the rules-making provisions in Schedule 23 have been amended accordingly.
785.Paragraph 12 extends the offence of concealment of property to section 354 Insolvency Act 1986 to include any failure to account for the loss of any substantial property to the trustee. Currently, the provisions in section 354(3) set out the scope of the offence of a bankrupt failing – without reasonable excuse – either to account to the Official Receiver or the court for substantial losses or give satisfactory explanation for how such a loss came about. However, the realisation of assets is often administered by a trustee other than the Official Receiver.
786.Paragraph 13 adds subsections (4) and (5) to section 355 (concealment and falsification of accounting records) Insolvency Act 1986. The current provisions of section 355(2) and (3) detail offences relating to bankrupts who destroy, conceal, alter or dispose of books, papers or records in the twelve months prior to a bankruptcy petition being presented, or between the petition and order. In the case of ‘trading records’, that period is extended to two years (section 361 of the Insolvency Act 1986). The Act also repeals the current provisions of section 361, which will be dealt with by the new bankruptcy restrictions regime. As the availability of adequate records is crucial to the examination of the bankrupt’s estates and enquiries into the bankrupt’s affairs, subsection (4) extends the period from twelve months to two years. Subsection (5) provides a definition of the term ‘trading record’.
787.County Court Administration Orders (‘CCAOs’) are made in the county courts and fall outside the insolvency regime. They are mechanisms for dealing with individuals with multiple debts and give the debtor respite from enforcement proceedings while they pay off their debts. Only those who have a county court judgment against them, at least one other debt, and total debts of less than £5,000, can apply for a CCAO. Currently, section 429 Insolvency Act 1986 allows a court to make an order placing restrictions on acquiring credit and the use of a trading name for up to two years where a debtor has failed to pay under a CCAO. Paragraph 15 amends section 429 County Courts Act 1984 to reflect the fact that restrictions flowing from the making of a bankruptcy order will only be for one year following the change to the discharge period. Therefore restrictions flowing from a CCAO will be similarly limited.