What is a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO)?

A Bankruptcy Restriction Order or BRO, is a Court Order made against a bankrupt once a court has decided that the bankrupt's conduct has been culpable or dishonest.

Whilst not intended to be a punishment, a BRO is only imposed in circumstances where the Court believes the debtor's actions have had a significant impact on the cause and depth of a bankrupt's indebtedness.

Subjecting a bankrupt to a BRO is done, primarily, to extended the period of protection bankruptcy gives creditors from the future financial activities of the bankrupt.

What Does A Bankruptcy Restriction Order Do?

When a court imposes a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO), it will subject the debtor to certain restrictions, for a set period of between 2 and 15 years.

The restrictions are the same restrictions as every bankrupt will experience during a normal bankruptcy period, which are set out in the insolvency law, however the BRO will lengthen the time period of the bankruptcy restrictions, stopping them from being lifted when the bankrupt is discharged, as is normally the case.

What are the restrictions?

The bankruptcy restrictions, as set out in insolvency law, are:

  • You must declare you are bankrupt to a creditor if you are trying to obtain in excess of £500 credit
  • You must inform potential business colleagues and associates the name, or trading style under which you were made bankrupt.
  • You are restricted from acting as a company director, from taking part in its promotion, formation or management without the Court's prior permission.
  • You may not act as an Insolvency Practitioner, or as the receiver or manager of the property of a company on behalf of debenture holders.
  • You may not be a 'Member of Parliament' in England or Wales.

There are other bankruptcy restrictions which are not set out in insolvency law, such as restricting a bankrupt from holding certain public offices and professions, and guidance should be sought from the relevant authorising body, should specific information be required on any particular bankruptcy case.

Why would I get a Bankruptcy Restriction Order?

Here are some examples of actions that could attract a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO), as listed on the Insolvency Services website.

  • Incurring debts that you knew you had no reasonable chance of being able to repay.
  • Selling assets at under their market value or giving away these assets for free.
  • Showing priority to certain creditors, such as family or friends in preference to others.
  • Being unreasonably extravagant with your spending.
  • Gambling or making rash speculations.
  • Causing your debts to increase by neglecting your business affairs and responsibilities.
  • Fraud or fraudulent breach of trust.
  • Carrying on with your business when you knew, or should of known that you were insolvent.

The court will decide on the length of time the BRO is to be imposed, but it is generally accepted that the length of your BRO will be influenced by the amount of financial harm your behaviour has caused your creditors.

Be warned

The power of a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO) is not to be underestimated.

If you are found guilty of breeching your BRO you commit a criminal offence and, therefore, if found guilty, you could be fined or imprisoned.

For further reading on the Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO) subject visit the Insolvency Services website.

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