Debt Relief Orders or DROs were brought in two years ago to provide a route out of debt for the poorest people in financial trouble.
The process costs just £90, much cheaper for the debtor than bankruptcy, and is only open to those with less than £300 in assets as well as a low value car.
While bankruptcies have fallen sharply as families batten down the hatches and cut spending, the numbers at the bottom of the pile seeking protection from creditors is on the rise.
Mark Sands, from insolvency experts, RSM Tenon, said, "It shows how many people are so desperately short of money that they qualify for DROs."
The total figure for individual insolvencies was down 11 per cent compared with the thrid quarter of 2010.
But with financial pressures building, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) fears there will be a surge in insolvencies next year.