The Bankruptcy Fees etc (Scotland) Regulations 2012 recently implemented some significant changes to the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB)’s fees structure. Key changes include:
- Debtor application fees have increased from £100 to £200. According to the AiB’s website, this is to “more accurately reflect the rising unit cost of processing an application”. It is open to debtors to pay in instalments. The “Debtor Application Pack” suggests 4 payments of £50, but it seems clear the debtor can offer to pay what he or she can afford. Of course, the application may be made only when the full fee has been paid.
- The second change is that the creditor petition administration fee has reduced from £200 to £100. While this sounds positive for creditors on the face of it, all is not as it seems. Yes, the administration fee has halved. However, a new fee of £200 must be paid as a deposit. The AiB’s website explains: “The fees and the deposit will be recoverable if funds are available in the debtor’s estate when the sequestration ends. Where no funds are available, the £200 will be set against the cost of administration and will reduce the burden on the public purse.”
- Finally, there is now a new charging mechanism for the supervision of a trustee in a protected trust deed. Previously, a one-off fee of £250 was payable. Now, the AiB will charge £100 per year (while the protected trust deed is supervised). Invoices will be sent one year after the trust becomes protected, which should allow trustees the opportunity to ingather sufficient funds.
The AiB does say that “while some fees are increasing, the majority have been frozen and some fees have been reduced”. However, it is surely fair comment to suggest that bankruptcy is becoming generally more expensive!