Judging by a recent list of bankruptcy petitions, it seems that in N.Ireland almost every occupation, trade & profession has been affected by the recession. Students, unemployed persons and those who are retired have not escaped either.
The law requires that all bankruptcy orders be published so that creditors in particular can make their claims against the estate of the bankrupt person. Anybody who has financial troubles can petition for their own bankruptcy but the majority of petitions are instigated by creditors who have given up chasing payment of the debts.
In one week in 2010 the Belfast Telegraph carried a list of seventy four persons against whom bankruptcy orders had been made in the previous week with a few exceptions. The list stated the occupation of each person, where known. These included taxi driver, cashier, innkeeper, restaurateur, publican, draper, electrician, taxi proprietor, plaster boarder, hairdresser, plumber, haulier, builder, joiner, takeaway proprietor, subcontractor, accountant, quantity surveyor, joiner, bus driver, lorry driver, production operator, student, fish and chip shop proprietor, insurance adviser, refuse loader, retired civil servant, foreman, nurse, dietician, contractor and florist. In the case of some unemployed or retired persons the former occupation was not provided.
Bankruptcy in Northern Ireland, and in England and Wales for that matter, is not nearly as scary as it used to be. Discharge usually occurs in 1 year and with the fall in property prices, bankrupts need not lose their home since it is often not worthwhile for the trustee to chase after whatever little equity that might remain in the property. Contrary to what many people may think, there is nothing to stop a bankrupt person working to earn a living, except for the fact that there is a shortage of jobs in the economy. A bankrupt is usually allowed to retain their household goods and contents and even their car provided it is not inordinately expensive and it is needed for work. Workers tools are also exempt. What a contrast with the Republic of Ireland where the draconian legislation in that jurisdiction is a barrier to almost all insolvent citizens addressing their debts. It is remarkable that no citizen has yet taken the Irish government to the European Court of Human Rights for their failure to enact legislation in this area.