History of AiB

The history of bankruptcy and The Accountant in Bankruptcy

The history of bankruptcy is enshrined in legislation and the administration of it has been closely associated with the courts. The Bankruptcy Act 1621 is the earliest recorded statute dealing with bankruptcy. Legislation has developed slowly, with further enactments to the process of sequestration in 1696, 1772, 1783, 1856 and 1913, reflecting social and economic factors over the years.

The Accountant in Bankruptcy as a title came in to being in 1856 and was resurrected again in 1985, having been included into the Accountant of Court in 1886 by the 1985 Act. However, both titles belonged to the same person. The 1993 Act separated them yet again, such that The Accountant of Court is a different person to The Accountant in Bankruptcy.

The Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act of 1913 was largely a creditor-controlled process and The Accountant in Bankruptcy's role was limited to registering sequestrations and acting as first line of appeal on various issues, such as fees fixed by commissioner(s), reporting to the court on trustees/commissioners/debtors' failure to comply with statute, approving applications to the court for a trustee's discharge, auditing trust deeds when asked to do so and various other minor ancillary matters. Public funds were not available to administer cases, which were administered by persons other than The Accountant in Bankruptcy (The Accountant). At that time, you could be elected a trustee without being an insolvency practitioner or any kind of professional with knowledge in the field. The Scottish Law Commission decided a completely new Act was needed and the 1985 Act was introduced.

The Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 introduced public funding to underwrite the process where there were insufficient funds, or realisable assets, in a debtor's estate to cover the costs of sequestration.

In 1990, The Accountant decided to introduce the Block Payment Scheme which was to limit the amount paid to practitioners. It also helped cut down the administrative burden of audit.

Legislation in 1993 provided that The Accountant in Bankruptcy, when appointed trustee, could use his or her own staff, or appoint agents, to act on their behalf.

AiB becomes an Executive Agency

Accountant in Bankruptcy (the Agency) was established as an Executive Agency on 2 April 2002. The framework within which the Agency operates is set out in the Agency Framework Document, which includes the financial delegations. The Accountant is also the Agency's Chief Executive appointed by Scottish Ministers.

Scottish Ministers delegated functions under the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 to The Accountant, who was also appointed the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) Administrator. DAS became operational on 30 November 2004, while changes to the DAS scheme came into effect on 30 June 2007, introducing a 'stop' on creditor enforcement action and a freeze on interest.

The Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. (Scotland) Act 2007 ('the 2007 Act') made further amendments to the 1985 Act by reforming and modernising the process of bankruptcy. To facilitate the commencement of these provisions, the formal responsibility for supporting Scottish Ministers in the development of bankruptcy policy in Scotland transferred to The Accountant from the Justice Directorate. Under the 2007 Act, the Agency was given responsibility for the adjudication of debtor applications for bankruptcy from 1 April 2008.

In 2010, further amendments to the 1985 Act were made through part 2 of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, which introduced a new certificated route into bankruptcy and increased debtor protections.

A public consultation paper was launched on Bankruptcy law reform in 2012 and a programme of insolvency legislation development continued throughout 2013.

In 2013, the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill and new regulations for DAS and Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) were introduced


1621 Bankruptcy Act
1856 Accountant in Bankruptcy title came into being
1913 Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act
1985 Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act amended
1990 Introduction of Block Payment Scheme
1993 Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act amended
1997 AiB relocates from Leith and Haymarket to George House, 126 George Street, Edinburgh
2004 AiB relocates to temporary offices in Irvine, Ayrshire
Debt Arrangement Scheme comes into operation
2006 AiB relocates to Kilwinning, Ayrshire
2007 The Bankruptcy and Diligence (Scotland) Act
2008 Introduction of Low Income Low Asset (LILA) scheme
2010 Royal Assent awarded
Homeowner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act
2011 Introduction of the Certificate of Sequestration
2012 Public consultation paper launched in favour of Bankruptcy Law Reform
2013 Protected Trust Deeds (Scotland) Regulations 2013
2013 The Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations
2014 The Bankruptcy Fees (Scotland) Regulations 2014
2014 The Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations
2014 The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act
2015 Introduction of the Minimum Asset Process (MAP)
2015 The Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations. Introduction of Business DAS.
2016 Introduction of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016

Who is The Accountant in Bankruptcy?

1984 to 2000 - George Leslie Kerr

2000 to 2002 - Stephen Woodhouse

2002 to 2009 - Gillian Thompson

2009 to 2015 - Rosemary Winter-Scott

2015 to present - Richard Dennis