General and Personal Insolvency Sub-area NPA logo with link NPA logo with link

General and Personal Insolvency Sub-area

About this Sub-Area

This Sub-area includes matters related to general and personal insolvency under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) (Bankruptcy Act). Relevant matters include:

  • Applications by trustees in the management of bankrupt estates (e.g. voidable transactions)
  • Applications by bankrupts contesting decisions of a trustee
  • Applications for annulment of bankruptcy
  • Bankruptcy matters referred to a Judge by a Registrar.

Bankruptcy matters may be heard by the Federal Court. They may also be heard in the Federal Circuit Court.

This Sub-area does not include any corporate insolvency matters such as winding-up applications. These types of matters fall within the Corporations and Corporate Insolvency Sub-area in the Commercial and Corporations NPA.

Bankruptcy matters before a Registrar

A significant proportion of bankruptcy matters are case managed and determined by Registrars of the Court. This includes:

  • creditors’ petitions
  • applications to set aside bankruptcy notices
  • examinations pursuant to s 81 of the Bankruptcy Act.

A Guide to Bankruptcy Matters before a Registrar has been prepared to assist litigants involved in bankruptcy matters before a Registrar and relevant information for Registrar bankruptcy lists in each registry.

Practice Notes

All practice notes are to be read with the Central Practice Note.  It is the essential guide to practice in the Federal Court in all proceedings.

NPA Practice Note:

NOTE: also refer to Schedule 2 of the practice note – General and Personal
Insolvency Sub-area

Other general practice notes and Court developed guides which may be relevant to this Sub-area include:

General Practice Notes:


Forms, Rules & Fees

Filing fees for commencing a proceeding in this Sub-area may apply. Information about Court Fees, including the fees payable and circumstances where an exemption or deferral can be given is available in Forms, Fees & Costs or from the Registry.

The general procedure for the conduct of matters in this Sub-area is set out in the Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2016 (Bankruptcy Rules). As the Bankruptcy Rules do not provide a comprehensive code, the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules) also apply except to the extent of any inconsistency.

Unless the Bankruptcy Rules otherwise provide, you must make an application under the Bankruptcy Act to the Court by filing:

  • Corporations Rules 2.01 (including Notes 1 and 2), 2.02, 2.03, 6.01, 6.05, 6.11, 6.16, 14.01, 14.04, 14.08 and 14.09

Latest Judgments

  • 15 Apr 2019: Hall v Bank of Australia Limited, in the matter of Hall [2019] FCA 514
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - interlocutory application for review of a decision of a Registrar setting aside a bankruptcy notice - where substantive applicant had been required to serve originating application, affidavit and orders on the substantive respondent - where substantive applicant gave sworn evidence that he had served the documents on…
    Judge: Kerr J
  • 11 Apr 2019: Lane v Oakley (No 2) [2019] FCA 488
    BANKRUPTCY - power under s 30(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1996 (Cth) to order that registrar sign a release of mortgage document COSTS - Calderbank offer - whether indemnity costs should be ordered - whether unreasonable to refuse offer
    Judge: Rangiah J
  • 11 Apr 2019: Mango Boulevard Pty Ltd v Whitton [2019] FCA 490
    COSTS - indemnity principle - barrister's contingent costs agreement with uplift fee in relation to claim for damages - whether costs agreement void - whether barrister entitled to recover costs - where separate costs agreements for separate proceedings - barrister not precluded from recovering costs - where costs agreement did not include an…
    Judge: Rangiah J
  • 11 Apr 2019: Batterham v Nauer, in the matter of Peter James Batterham [2019] FCA 485
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application to set aside bankruptcy notice under s 40(1)(g) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - where applicant asserts cross-claim exceeding the amount in the bankruptcy notice - where claims of relief are either misconceived or doomed to fail - application summarily dismissed PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - summary dismissal…
    Judge: Gleeson J
  • 10 Apr 2019: Nugawela v Commissioner of Taxation (No 2) [2019] FCA 512
    Judge: Colvin J
  • 10 Apr 2019: Williamson v Michell (Trustee) [2019] FCA 481
    BANKRUPTCY - annulment - application by bankrupt for annulment of bankruptcy- where bankruptcy founded on debtor's petition - where accompanying statement of affairs contained false statements - where bankrupt sought to rely on own abuse of process as basis for annulment - whether discretion to annul bankruptcy enlivened - whether, if discretion…
    Judge: Moshinsky J
  • 3 Apr 2019: Pekar v Holden (Trustee) [2019] FCA 442
    BANKRUPTCY - application by former bankrupt for release of funds paid to trustee in bankruptcy pursuant to an agreement - where former bankrupt contended that his estate was free from debt and, accordingly, the funds should be released
    Judge: Moshinsky J
  • 26 Mar 2019: Coshott v Coshott (No 2) [2019] FCA 403
    COSTS - costs in relation to successful interlocutory application - whether indemnity costs be ordered - held: indemnity costs ordered
    Judge: Bromwich J
  • 22 Mar 2019: Carrafa v Chaplin, in the matter of the bankrupt estate of Michael Chaplin [2019] FCA 415
    CORPORATIONS - application by trustee for vacant possession of property - where agreement reached between the joint trustees and the respondent allowing the respondent to remain in occupation of the property on the condition that he maintain the property - where there was evidence from the respondent indicating that he may have completed works…
    Judge: Colvin J
  • 22 Mar 2019: Coshott v Official Trustee in Bankruptcy, in the matter of Bankrupt Estate of Michael Petrovic Lenin (deceased) [2019] FCA 401
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - whether the applicant had reasonable prospect of successfully prosecuting the proceeding - whether there was an issue estoppel - whether there was an Anshun estoppel - whether there was an abuse of process - proceedings dismissed.
    Judge: Thawley J


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Important note: This information is procedural advice only. You should seek your own legal advice about legal cases and procedure in the Federal Court and in this area of law.