Any individual enquirer or organisation can find out about individuals who have filed for bankruptcy--otherwise known as insolvency--in the UK, either in person or by using a comprehensive and freely accessible online search facility. Such checks are often carried out by financial institutions, and increasingly by potential employers. The process is simple, and as of July 2010 there are no fees involved in effecting an online or in-person bankruptcy search.
Gather necessary background details about the person you wish to research. Write down all known names of the individual. Note her last known location if you have it. Decide whether you'll do your research online or by making a personal visit to an official receiver's office.
Call the Official Receiver's Helpline on (UK) 0845 602 9848, if you're choosing to make a visit. Ask which is the nearest office to you. Telephone the preferred office in advance to ensure it is still showing a current address. Visit the office on a weekday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Take with you the full name--or as many details as you have available--and the individual's last known location. Request a search using the details you give; results should be posted to you within seven working days.
Go online if you have chosen this method instead of a visit to the receiver's office. Look up www.insolvency.gov.uk. Select the link to "Bankruptcy Search including DRO/IVA" on the website's home page. Click on "How to Search the Register." Choose the "Online" option. Search for the person "By Name Details." Ignore the option to search "By Trading Name" unless you have been unable to find them by his personal name.
Choose "All Offices in England and Wales" if you cannot select a specific receiver's office from the drop-down box. Select "All Courts" unless you know which court dealt with the insolvency. Type in the person's first name and surname if you have them, to lessen chances of producing information about the wrong person. Search against just a surname, or part of the surname, if that's all you have. Click "Go."
Read the list of names under "Search Results." Select the name best matching the person you're researching. Check carefully her location and the county court details given. Double-check her date of birth and date of the filed bankruptcy to see that it all fits with what you expected of the individual.
Carry out your search as soon as possible, since only current and recently filed bankruptcies--completed within the last three months--are held on public record.