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

  • 14 Feb 2019: Lane v Oakley [2019] FCA 107
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - ss 120 and 121 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - whether registered and equitable mortgages are undervalued transactions - whether transactions made for the purpose of defeating creditors - whether consideration given for mortgages
    Judge: Rangiah J
  • 14 Feb 2019: Coshott v Burke (No 3) [2019] FCAFC 23
    COSTS - applications for lump sum costs on an indemnity basis - whether costs should be fixed in a lump sum - whether circumstances justify the exercise of the Court's discretion to award costs on an indemnity basis - where appellants' conduct caused additional costs - costs awarded as a lump sum - appropriate discount to be applied to lump sum in …
    Judge: Logan, Kerr and Farrell JJ
  • 8 Feb 2019: Coshott v Parker [2019] FCAFC 14
    STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - whether leave to appeal necessary - whether, where general retaining lien maintained, statute-barred debts nevertheless payable in deceased estate administration under Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) s 68 - whether holder of general retaining lien a "creditor" within meaning of Probate and Administration Act 1898 (NSW) s 82(1)
    Judge: Gleeson, Thomas and Thawley JJ
  • 6 Feb 2019: Doggett v Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2019] FCAFC 19
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - appeal from a decision of a single judge - whether primary judge erred in refusing to go behind the judgment debt upon which a bankruptcy notice was based - whether primary judge showed actual or apprehended bias in dealing with the appellants - appeal dismissed
    Judge: Kerr, Davies and Thawley JJ
  • 1 Feb 2019: Via Sanantonio Pty Ltd v Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2019] FCA 58
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - applications to set aside bankruptcy notices - whether judgments or orders underlying bankruptcy notices were attached when the notices were issued as required by the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) and Bankruptcy Regulations 1996 (Cth) - whether Curtis v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd (2014) 225 FCR 458 is distinguishable by…
    Judge: Griffiths J
  • 31 Jan 2019: Fewin Pty Limited v Prentice (No 2) [2019] FCA 53
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - whether interlocutory orders should be set aside pursuant to s 23 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and r 39.05(c) of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) - application dismissed.
    Judge: Markovic J
  • 31 Jan 2019: Jones v Purnell Motors Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 55
    BANKRUPTCY - application for an extension of time and leave to appeal interlocutory orders of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia summarily dismissing an application seeking an extension of time to set aside or annul a sequestration order - where significant delay in bringing application - where prejudice to the applicant's estate and creditors …
    Judge: Markovic J
  • 24 Jan 2019: Weston (Trustee) v Sanna [2019] FCA 32
    BANKRUPTCY - whether the transfers of two properties to the respondent are respectively void against the trustee pursuant to s 120 or, in the alternative, s 121 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) (Act) - whether the bankrupt's main purpose in transferring the properties was to prevent them from becoming divisible among the bankrupt's creditors or to …
    Judge: Markovic J
  • 10 Jan 2019: Booth v Offerman as trustee of the bankrupt estate of Geoffrey David Booth [2019] FCA 5
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - where applicant (a bankrupt) seeks his trustee's consent to travel overseas - where trustee gives consent on condition of payment of specific sum to bankrupt's estate - whether Court should direct trustee to give consent without that condition and, if so, on what conditions
    Judge: Robertson J
  • 21 Dec 2018: Borg v de Vries (Trustee), in the matter of the Bankrupt Estate of David Morton Bertram [2018] FCA 2116
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application pursuant to s 90-15 of the Insolvency Practice Schedule (Bankruptcy), Schedule 2 to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) for the replacement of the trustees of a bankrupt estate - consideration of the matters that may tend to indicate that replacement of the trustee would advance the purposes of the Bankruptcy Act…
    Judge: White 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.