Generational change in Bankruptcy legislation

Stack of paper
By David Menzies, ICAS Director of Insolvency

25 March 2016

The Scottish Parliament has passed the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Bill 2016, consolidating all bankruptcy legislation into a new single Act.

Scottish laws on insolvency have been brought together into one piece of legislation for the first time in a generation with the Scottish Parliament passing the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Bill 2016 in one of its final acts before dissolving prior to the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary elections.

The Bill captures all of the amendments made to the primary legislation governing bankruptcy in Scotland - the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 - as well as new laws brought in since, including the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014, which came into force in April 2015.

ICAS welcome the passing of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Bill. We are pleased that the Scottish Government and Parliament took on many of the concerns which were raised by ICAS during the progress of the Bill through Parliament, particularly around the overuse of abbreviations in the legislation.

As a result, we now have a piece of modern legislation which consolidates over 30 years of bankruptcy legislation.

The new Act will bring a coherent structure to what was an unwieldly piece of legislation and as a result will enable easier access to bankruptcy legislation for all users and stakeholders

Business Minister Fergus Ewing said: "Policy officials from Accountant in Bankruptcy have worked with the Scottish Law Commission, which published a consultation paper on consolidating bankruptcy legislation in 2011 and has led the process of drafting the Bill, to bring these proposals before Parliament."

"The consolidation exercise has been warmly received by the money advice and insolvency industry."

"By consolidating all of the various elements of legislation in one place, the Bill will make bankruptcy policy more accessible, both for the money advice community and those experiencing financial difficulties."

The Bankruptcy (Scotland) Bill is only the second ever piece of primary consolidation legislation to pass through the Scottish Parliament, following the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Consolidation Act 2003.

The passing of the Stage 3 motion signals the completion of the parliamentary process and it is anticipated the measure will come into force towards the end of 2016, together with updated accompanying subordinate legislation, subject to receiving Royal Assent.


  • Legislation
  • Insolvency

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