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Personal Insolvency

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Dealing with financial difficulties and the impact and aftermath of a potential bankruptcy is inherently stressful and can be all consuming; at times it may be difficult to see how you can move forward and the choices you face may appear impossible. We can help you start to see the wood for the trees, to identify solutions and options.

What we can help with

  • Negotiate with creditors and manage communications
  • Guide you with debt disputes 
  • Help  you to oppose statutory demands and creditor bankruptcy petitions
  • Advise you on the legal implications of IVAs and of applying for your own bankruptcy
  • Help you understand your duties and obligations if you are bankrupt
  • Advise you on your options if you jointly own property with a bankrupt person or claim any other rights in a property registered to a bankrupt person
  • Help you to deal appropriately with assets which may have vested in your (or your spouse’s) trustee in bankruptcy
  • Assist with relief from bankruptcy restrictions
  • Help you to defend and negotiate void disposition claims
  • Help you to defend and negotiate transaction at undervalue claims
  • Help you to defend and negotiate unlawful preference claims
  • Help you negotiate with trustees in bankruptcy and IVA supervisors generally
  • Applications to annul your bankruptcy
  • Advice regarding the administration of potentially insolvent deceased estates
  • Bankruptcy jurisdiction disputes and cross-border asset recovery

People we have helped

  • We helped the executors of a large and complex deceased estate involving hotels and other assets which turned out to be insolvent to apply successfully for an insolvent estates administration order and then to validate their expenses incurred in good faith by resisting a court application by the insolvent estate administrator to have them ruled as void.
  • We helped a bankrupt annul his bankruptcy and to successfully challenge various creditor claims and his trustee in bankruptcy’s costs where the trustee had acted prematurely and/or inappropriately.
  • We helped a former director of an insolvent company to avoid bankruptcy by persuading the liquidator that his beneficial interest in his family home was confined to 1% of the equity, that this could not be unravelled in a bankruptcy court and that his offer to settle the claims from his income was accordingly reasonable and should be accepted. 
  • We have helped numerous spouses, co-owners of property and other associates of bankrupts to negotiate and/or successfully oppose applications by trustees in bankruptcy for possession and sale of their homes and/or for orders in respect of alleged transactions at an undervalue, thus securing homes and livelihoods.
  • We have helped individuals of various nationalities to access the protection of an English bankruptcy in the face of creditor opposition and/or adjudicator concerns about jurisdiction.

How we work with you

Whilst based in the South of England, Paris Smith acts for businesses and families throughout the UK. Technology has enabled us to provide a high level of service to our clients whether they are local to our offices or not. Our advice can be given in many ways:

  • Over the telephone
  • Via video conferencing
  • In face to face meetings

We will talk through how you would like to be contacted and the best ways for us to meet in our early conversations with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click here for all personal insolvency and corporate restructuring FAQ’s.


Get in touch to speak with an expert.

Introducing your key contact

Mike Pavitt

Partner – Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency; Commercial Disputes

Mike Pavitt

Partner – Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency; Commercial Disputes

Personal Insolvency Services

How we’ve helped our clients

“Thank you both (Lucy Andrews and Mike Pavitt) sincerely for your kindness, hard work and expertise in resolving what could have been a truly tragic situation for my mother. It’s a really good outcome; we’re truly thankful and very happy with the service provided. ”

Mr F of Brighton

“Thank you for being such a reassuring and effective support system to us through a very rocky time. We are pleased that life has moved on since then and that we are re-building our lives. ”

Mr and Mrs R


“Thank you for your most excellent and diligent work on behalf of our son. Without your support and advice, we both feel the situation could have become much worse. Your experience and correctness showed through many times throughout the drawn out process. We would certainly seek your advice should we ever need further help in litigation. With very grateful thanks.”

Mr and Mrs E, West Sussex

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for your help, patience and understanding throughout the duration of the case and eventually achieving a comprehensive settlement for myself and my family. I am particularly grateful to you for the periods when I was finding it quite difficult to remain focused, but your calm and reassuring manner helped me to understand and get over those uncertain and psychologically demanding times.”

Mrs S, Middlesex

“It has been a pleasure working with Steve Adams and Mike Pavitt on this matter and we are also very grateful for the effort you put into getting the great result for us also with the lockdown situation making it difficult to meet up in person.”

Mr B, New Forest

“I was at a very low point when I first approached you for help and I really couldn’t have got through it without the advice and legal expertise from you and your colleagues at Paris Smith at every step of the process.”

Mrs C, Basingstoke

“Referees say “There is a good range of experience within the team, which as a whole has a vast understanding of complex insolvency matters;” “The team always respond in good time and keep their clients updated in terms of progress” and “They respond quickly and put thought behind their advice. They have a highly experienced leader with an excellent team.””

Chambers & Partners 2023 – Referee Comments

Paris Smith Chambers logo 2023

Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2023

What the team is known for

Paris Smith regularly tackles a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters, such as the sale and purchase of distressed assets including residential and commercial real estate. It is notable for its work in the leisure, retail and financial services sectors. It works for a range of local and national organisations, as well as individual directors and trustees in bankruptcy.


“They respond quickly and put thought behind their advice. They have a highly experienced leader with an excellent team.”

“There is a good range of experience within the team, which as a whole has a vast understanding of complex insolvency matters.”

“The team always respond in good time and keep their clients updated in terms of progress.”

Notable Practitioners

Mike Pavitt is based in Southampton and heads up the firm’s corporate restructuring and insolvency team. He is a distinguished practitioner with a strong practice handling the full range of corporate and personal insolvency matters. He is adept handling pre-pack sales.

“Mike is extremely thorough. He is a good leader with a very loyal team. He is kind, but can be tough when required.”

“Mike is very knowledgeable on European law.”

“Mike is highly experienced and will always properly analyse the situation before providing detailed advice.”

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