Do I have to go to court if I file for bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy can be daunting enough without the added anxiety of thinking about going to court.
An Ipsos survey suggests that around half of Canadians fear that they are on the brink of insolvency.
Some people who are considering bankruptcy may assume that they have to appear in court, but in the majority of cases, this is not a scenario you will have to worry about.
Most people go through the process without having to spend any time in a courtroom.
If you are filing for bankruptcy for the first or second time, you should not have to go to court, provided that you meet the following criteria:
- You adhere to the terms of the bankruptcy agreement and complete the required duties, including completing two compulsory credit counselling sessions.
- Your creditors do not refuse or reject the discharge of your bankruptcy.
- Your trustee approves the bankruptcy discharge, as you have fulfilled your duties and made all the required bankruptcy payments.
If a creditor rejects the discharge and they want to oppose the decision, the individual will be required to attend the bankruptcy discharge hearing.
If you are filing for bankruptcy for the third time, you will be asked to attend the discharge hearing.
What happens if I have to go to court?
It’s rare for people who file for bankruptcy for the first or second time to be summoned to court, but if you do have to go to court, there’s no need to be worried or anxious.
Bankruptcy court is not the same as a criminal court.
The hearing will be presided over by a registrar, who will make a decision based on the evidence presented.
If you do go to court, your trustee will not represent you, and it will be up to you to decide whether or not you wish to hire a legal expert.
In the vast majority of cases, you can avoid going to court after filing for bankruptcy by fulfilling the requirements and duties outlined by your trustee.
What does filing for bankruptcy involve?
In most cases, the process of filing for bankruptcy is relatively simple.
There is a series of steps to follow:
- Look for a licensed insolvency trustee (LIT). Your LIT will evaluate your situation and decide whether or not bankruptcy is the best course of action.
- Fill in and sign the documentation.
- Your trustee will submit the documents and notify your creditors.
- Make sure you complete your duties.
- Obtain the bankruptcy discharge notice.
It’s natural to be worried about ending up in court if you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy.
It’s highly unlikely that you will need to attend a discharge hearing, and the process should be relatively straightforward.
If you need help or advice, or you have questions, we’re here to help.