Is a grant of letters of administration needed if a client died intestate before a bankruptcy hearing?

My client was served a bankruptcy petition shortly before admission to hospital for major surgery. They died intestate before the hearing. Their son wishes to defend the proceedings but is concerned about the cost of a grant of letters of administration. Is the grant needed?

Under rule 19.8(1)(b) of the Civil Procedure Rules, the court may order the appointment of a person to represent an estate for the purposes of the proceedings where:

  • a party who has an interest in a claim has died and
  • no personal representatives are appointed

This enables the court to dispense with the need for a grant of letters of administration.

In Berti v Steele Raymond (a firm) [2001] EWCA Civ 2079, the Court of Appeal ruled that a person who wishes to represent a deceased’s estate in court proceedings should not be forced to incur the expense of obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration, especially where the value of the estate is modest.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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