Apply to have a statutory demand cancelled
You can apply to the court to have a statutory demand set aside, as long as you do it within 18 days of the demand being served.
The court might also consider an application outside this time limit, as long as the creditor hasn't already asked for a bankruptcy petition to be issued. You can apply to have it set aside for any of the following reasons:
- you have a genuine dispute with your creditor about the debt
- you think the creditor owes you at least as much money as you owe them, called a counterclaim
- the statutory demand hasn't been issued correctly
- you owe less than £5,000
- you have a legal defence to court action being taken against you, such as the creditor being out of time for taking court action - you may need to get advice to see if you've got a legal defence
How to apply to have a statutory demand set aside
To apply to have a statutory demand set aside, you should follow this process within 18 days of the demand being served on you.
Find the right court
You should apply to the court for your insolvency district. Usually this is the court named on your statutory demand. You can check by:
- Visiting the court and tribunal finder on GOV.UK
- Selecting ‘The Area of Law I am interested in’
- Selecting ‘bankruptcy’
- Entering your postcode - if you’ve moved recently, enter the postcode of where you’ve spent the most time in the past 6 months
Complete the application forms
You need to download and fill in court form IAA.
When you hand in the application, your creditor can't try to make you bankrupt while your application to have the statutory demand cancelled is being considered.
Attend the hearing
A date will be set for the hearing, which you must attend. If you don't go to the hearing the court will dismiss your application to have the statutory demand set aside.
If the application is dismissed, your creditor can immediately apply to make you bankrupt. You can ask the court to delay this if you need more time to pay the debt or get advice. The court usually won't agree unless you can show you have a plan to pay the debt quickly. For example, if you're selling property to raise money to pay the debt, you'll need to show you have a buyer and tell them when it's expected to sell.
You may have to pay court costs if your application is dismissed.
If your application is successful, the statutory demand will be cancelled, or set aside. However, depending on the reason why it was set aside, you may need to continue negotiating with your creditor about the debt, or they could try again to make you bankrupt at a later date.