Snookered

The Enterprise Act 2002 (‘EA’) brought in a number of changes for bankruptcy, most significantly that the typical duration of the restrictions on a bankrupt was reduced to 12 months, with other notable changes being the removal of offences for second-time bankruptcies and gambling your way to insolvency. The Act also brought in the concept of a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (‘BRO’) which in essence means that the duration of restrictions on a bankrupt can be extended for up to 15 years on reckless and irresponsible individuals.

This has sadly been brought to bear on Willie Thorne, a former World ranked professional snooker player, prominent in the 1980s, who has been declared bankrupt and handed a six-year BRO. The Official Receiver has been quoted as saying, “A BRO in these circumstances will serve to provide creditors with a degree of protection, and it will also act as a deterrent to the bankrupt not to act in a similar manner in the future”.

BROs are relatively rare so why has one been handed down here? Well, Willie apparently borrowed around £460,000 from a number of friends and acquaintances on the promise that it would be repaid within two months. Unfortunately, the money was simply gambled away with not one penny being returned to the lenders.

So, despite the changes brought in by the EA, the take-home message should be if you are a ‘repeat bankrupt’ and have gambled your way to insolvency, you might still be handed a BRO for what might be considered reckless and irresponsible behaviour. If you feel this affects you or any of your clients please contact us for a free consultation.