Guide for Practitioners and Parties
In bankruptcy matters listed before a Judicial Registrar
Table of Contents
2. Bankruptcy matters before a Judicial Registrar
3. Commencing proceedings
4. Filing documents in Judicial Registrar bankruptcy matters
5. First court date and time standards
6. Documents to be filed pre-hearing
7. Open court
8. Sequence in which matters will be called in a Judicial Registrar's bankruptcy list
9. Telephone appearances
10. Where no appearance may be required
12. Written notification of adjournments to non-appearing parties
13. Allocation of a new hearing date of an unserved application/creditor's petition
14. Amendments to court documents
15. Court orders
16. Standard form of orders
17. Costs orders
18. Substituted service applications
19. Further practice information
20. Communications in a Judicial Registrar matter
21. Publication of the Judicial Registrar Court Lists
22. Enquiries and contact information
23. Self-represented litigants
24. Information on the Court's online services
1.1 This guide summarises the arrangements for bankruptcy matters listed before a Judicial Registrar. Bankruptcy matters are listed before Judicial Registrars who sit in the Federal Court of Australia (the Court).
1.2 The arrangements set out in this guide are designed to streamline and promote a consistent and efficient case management practice in the Judicial Registrar Court Lists nationally and to facilitate the just resolution of disputes with a minimum of delay and expense. However, nothing in this guide affects the Court's discretion to conduct the list in a manner it considers appropriate.
1.3 Amendments will appear on the guide online as appropriate and practitioners should check the website for the current version of the guide. Practitioners can also subscribe to the Court's Practice News email notification service.
2.1 Bankruptcy matters that may be heard and determined by a Judicial Registrar whether exercising the Judge delegated powers of the Federal Court or Federal Circuit and Family Court include creditors' petitions, applications to set aside, or to extend time in which to comply with, a bankruptcy notice, applications to administer a deceased estate in bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (the Bankruptcy Act), and applications for substituted service orders.
2.2 Bankruptcy matters within the delegated jurisdiction of a Registrar are set out in Schedule 1 of the Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2016 (the Bankruptcy Rules)
3.1 All new bankruptcy applications that are within a Registrar's delegated jurisdiction should be commenced using the forms approved under the Bankruptcy Rules. Both the Bankruptcy Rules and the general court rules apply to the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings. All applications can be filed with the Registry (refer to paragraph  of this guide on how to file a document with the Registry).
a) Applications for a sequestration order are made by presenting a creditor's petition using Form B6, supported by affidavits in compliance with Rule 4.02 of the Bankruptcy Rules. Information on how to present a creditor's petition is available in Bankruptcy Information Sheet 1.
b) Applications to set aside bankruptcy notice and/or to extend time within which to comply with the bankruptcy notice are made by filing a Form B2, supported by an affidavit in compliance with Rule 3.02 and/or Rule 3.03 of the Bankruptcy Rules. Information on how to complete a Form B2 application to set aside a bankruptcy is available in Bankruptcy Information Sheet 4.
c) Formal requirements for documents filed in bankruptcy proceedings in the FCA are set out in Rule 1.07(5) and Form B1 of the Bankruptcy Rules and Rules 2.11 to 2.16 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (the Court Rules). Formal requirements for affidavits filed in the Court are set out in Rules 29.01 to 29.03 of the Court Rules but modified to include the heading in approved form B1 prescribed by rule 1.07(5). The forms used in bankruptcy proceedings in the Court are available in Forms.
- Bankruptcy Information Sheet 1: Presenting a Creditor's Petition
- Bankruptcy Information Sheet 2: Creditor's Petition Checklist
- Bankruptcy Information Sheet 3: Opposing a Creditor's Petition
- Bankruptcy Information Sheet 4: Setting aside a Bankruptcy Notice
- Bankruptcy Information Sheet 5: Substituted Service Applications
- Bankruptcy Information Sheet 6: Consequences of a Sequestration Order
- General information on what happens when a debtor is made a bankrupt is available at the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) website.
3.3 The information sheets and checklist are intended to provide practical assistance for litigants and have been prepared as a guide only. They do not summarise the legislative requirements or the applicable bankruptcy rules and should not be regarded as a substitute for them.
4.1 Documents commencing or relevant to an existing bankruptcy Judicial Registrar matter can be lodged for filing electronically online by eLodging the documents with the Registry using the eLodgment facility (see paragraph  of this guide for more information on eLodgment). Parties may also eLodge in Judicial Registrar matters documents regarding a proceeding including draft orders, consent orders, and case management correspondence.
4.2 eLodgment is the preferred method of filing documents in all Judicial Registrar matters rather than filing documents in paper format in person at the Registry or by fax filing. This is because the court file for all Judicial Registrar bankruptcy matters will be electronic (the 'Electronic Court File' or 'ECF'). The ECF has replaced paper based files. All documents accepted for filing in Judicial Registrar bankruptcy matters will be received (and managed) electronically through the Court's eLodgment system.
4.3 Where paper documents are filed in hard copy with the Registry in person, by post, or by facsimile, the documents will need to be scanned and eLodged by Registry staff to form part of the court file. For those documents filed in person or in court, parties are encouraged to eLodge these documents themselves at the eLodgment kiosk at the Registry.
5.1 Parties can generally expect a first hearing date to be listed within 2-6 weeks of filing an application, depending on the nature of the application.
5.2 Parties may request a hearing on a particular date on which a list is conducted. This request can be made via eLodgment. The Registry will endeavour to accommodate the request depending on the number of matters already listed on the date requested. Arrangements for hearing bankruptcy matters by Judicial Registrars and relevant listing information for Judicial Registrar Court Lists in each Registry is available (see paragraph  of this guide).
5.3 The Court aims to have all Judicial Registrar matters that are appropriately dealt with to conclusion by a Judicial Registrar completed within 3 months of the first return date. Practitioners are expected to assist the Court to meet this standard.
6.1 The Court requests that all documents which a party will ask the Court to consider should be filed no later than 2pm the day before the court listing. eLodgment is the preferred method of filing. The early filing of documents will generally allow the Court sufficient time to pre-read the file so as to ensure that court time is used efficiently.
a) All affidavit evidence required to be filed in support of the application under the Court Rules
b) Any other documents or material to be relied upon at the hearing including any affidavit proving notification of the adjourned court date to the other parties
c) Where an order for lump sum costs will be sought, a statement of costs and disbursements lodged in accordance with paragraph  of this guide
d) Written notification to the Legal Case Manager to the Judicial Registrar hearing the matter (or, if there is no Legal Case Manager, the Registry) (and copied to other parties) as to whether the matter is likely to proceed unopposed, whether an appearance from any other party is expected, whether the matter is likely to be adjourned, be contested, be dismissed/ withdrawn or the nature of other orders likely to be requested If not provided under paragraph d) above). Parties should also indicate where it is expected that a matter will take more than 30 minutes to hear (refer to paragraph  of this guide on the protocols for emailing the Registry about a matter listed before a Judicial Registrar).
6.3 Prior to court, practitioners are expected to communicate with each other to see if an agreement can be reached on the orders the Court will be asked to make. Generally a party should not ask the Court to make an order before conferring with the other party/parties.
8.1 The Judicial Registrar will order the list to deal with matters in the most efficient way. Priority will usually be given to short matters or straightforward matters that can be disposed of within 5 minutes and that do not require significant reading before moving to the other matters. Short matters may include consent adjournments and unopposed matters where the necessary supporting material has been filed by 2pm the previous day. In appropriate circumstances, a Judicial Registrar may dispense with any requirement for a party to take the Court through the evidence.
8.2 While a Judicial Registrar will generally hear a matter on the day it is listed, matters which are estimated to last for more than 30 minutes may need to be listed at another time. It is the responsibility of the parties to notify the Legal Case Manager/Lawyer by 2pm the day before a matter is listed where the estimated hearing time is more than 30 minutes.
8.3 It is expected that parties will give the Court a realistic estimate of the time required to hear the application and that all the documents relevant to the application are eLodged by 2pm the day before the appointed court date. (Refer to paragraph [6.2] of this guide on the documents to be filed pre-hearing).
8.4 With a creditor's petition, the supporting material that should be eLodged by 2pm the day before the court date where the applying party wishes to proceed to obtain a sequestration order includes:
a) Proof of the matters required to be given on affidavit referred to in rules 4.05 and 4.06 of the Bankruptcy Rules (which includes the updated affidavits of search and debt).
b) A statement of costs and disbursements under Schedule 3 of the Federal Court Rules 2011.
c) Where a petition has been adjourned, the applying party must have proof that the respondent(s) has been notified of the adjourned court date.
8.5 Where a party seeks leave to file documents in court, the Judicial Registrar may direct that party to eLodge the document before dealing with the matter or before making any orders. In all other instances the filing party will be directed to eLodge any document filed in court by no later than 4.30 pm on the next business day, either from their own computer or from the eLodgment kiosk in the Registry.
9.1 Judicial Registrar Court Lists normally proceed in person, however appearing by telephone is available in some circumstances at the discretion of the Judicial Registrar. A request to appear by phone should be made in writing no later than 2pm the day before the court date. The basis for the request should be set out in the written request.
9.2 If the request is granted, the party should ensure that all documents that the Court will be asked to consider are eLodged by 2pm the day before the court date. The Court will also require the party to be available at a designated time or during a designated period of time. If the party approved by the Judicial Registrar to appear by telephone is not able to be contacted at the designated time or during the designated period of time, the hearing may proceed in the absence of that party.
10.1 In appropriate circumstances, a Judicial Registrar may make orders in open court without the need for the parties or the practitioners to be present when the matter is listed. Upon receiving a request from the parties (see [10.8] –[10.10] of this guide), the Judicial Registrar will consider whether the application can be dealt with in their absence. Parties should not assume that an order will be made without attendance as requested. Examples of suitable matters where the Court may be prepared to make orders without attendance by the parties follow.
Prior to service of creditor's petition
Consent adjournments / Case management orders
10.3 Where, after a creditor’s petition or originating application has been served, the parties reach agreement that the proceeding should be adjourned, the Court may (on approval of the Judicial Registrar) adjourn the proceeding without the parties having to attend provided that a notice of appearance has been filed by all consenting parties, the consent order is eLodged no later than 2pm the day prior to the hearing, and the order is not opposed, at the hearing, by any supporting creditor or other interested party (refer to paragraph  of this guide on adjournment applications). Parties should not expect that the Court will adjourn a matter more than once in their absence.
10.4 Where all parties consent to orders varying directions previously made, a Judicial Registrar may agree to make those orders in open court without the parties having to attend in person. However, should the Judicial Registrar decline to make the proposed orders, the parties are expected to appear when the matter is listed before the Court.
Dismissals / Leave to withdraw
10.5 Where, after a creditor’s petition or originating application has been served, the parties reach agreement that the proceeding should be dismissed, the Court may (on approval of the Judicial Registrar) dismiss the application (with or without costs) without the parties having to attend provided that the proposed (or agreed) order is eLodged no later than 2pm the day prior to the hearing and the order (including any costs order) is not opposed, at the hearing, by any supporting creditor or other interested party.
Other orders made without attendance
10.6 Where a matter has been referred to a Judge’s Docket and allocated a different court date, the Judicial Registrar may announce the new listing in open court without the parties having to attend.
10.7 Where proceedings have been adjourned for the purpose of making final costs orders which are not opposed (refer to paragraph  of this guide).
Submitting a request for an order without attendance
10.8 These arrangements are designed to save expense to the parties, the time of the Court, and for the convenience of practitioners and are subject to the overriding discretion of the Judicial Registrar as to whether it is appropriate to deal with a matter in the absence of the parties.
10.9 Any request to be excused from appearing when a matter is listed before the Court should be made in writing no later than 2pm the day before the proceeding is listed. The Judicial Registrar will endeavour to review the request to consider whether to make the proposed orders without the parties having to appear in court when the matter is next listed.
Note: Parties are to put their requests in writing by eLodging the request as correspondence and sending an email to the Legal Case Manager/Lawyer copying in each other party to the proceeding confirming that the request has been eLodged. Protocols for emailing a Judicial Registrar are set out below at paragraph .
10.10 It is the responsibility of the parties (and lawyers representing each party) to enquire of the relevant Registry whether the Judicial Registrar will agree to make orders in their absence in open court. In the absence of confirmation from the Registry the parties are expected to attend court when the matter is listed.
11.1 There is no automatic entitlement to an adjournment in bankruptcy matters listed before a Judicial Registrar. A party who seeks an adjournment is expected to confer with the other parties with a view to reaching agreement in advance of a court listing on the orders the Court will be asked to make.
11.2 Generally, a party applying for an adjournment or for orders varying or amending previous orders would be expected to satisfy the Court of the basis of the adjournment or other order, and the Court may require the party to file and serve an affidavit setting out the factual basis, and explain the reasons, for the adjournment and any other matters the Court will be asked to consider.
11.3 Parties should not expect that the Court will adjourn a creditor's petition or originating application, even if by consent, more than once. Unless the Judicial Registrar agrees, practitioners are expected to attend court in person where an adjournment is sought.
12.1 On any adjourned hearing where a sequestration order is sought or other final order, including a costs order, the applying party will be required to file evidence of the date, manner and address to which written notice of the adjournment order has been sent to a party who was not present when the adjournment order was made.
12.2 Where the absent party is self-represented, written notice of the adjourned orders must be sent to his/her last known address or where he/ she has filed a Notice of Appearance, at the address referred to in that notice. A party seeking to send the written notice to the absent party's 'last known address' may be required to establish to the Court the nexus between the absent party and that address. Where a represented party has filed a Notice of Appearance, the written notice can be sent to the address for service referred to in the notice.
12.3 The written notice must inform the absent party of the details of the adjourned date, time and place (including address) of the next court date and of any other orders made by the Judicial Registrar. Where the Applicant intends to proceed on its application at the next court date, it may be prudent to state in the written notification that if the debtor is not present or represented at the adjourned court date, the Court may make a sequestration in their absence without further notice.
12.4 An Affidavit of Service of the written notification will generally be required where orders including costs orders are sought at the adjourned hearing. Where written notification is sent by prepaid post, the affidavit must state whether the document was sent by Express Post; Priority Post; Registered Post; Regular Post or other method of post that was used.
12.5 Practitioners must allow sufficient time for documents which are sent by prepaid post to be delivered. General Information on Australia Post's Delivery timeframes can be found at the Australia Post website.
13.1 Where an originating application such as a creditor's petition is unserved before the Court hearing date, an application to extend the hearing date can be made of the Registry by eLodging an amended creditor's petition with a request for a new hearing date. The applicant will need to select the amended document option, using an unsealed copy of the application/petition (NOT the sealed court copy) with a request for a new listing including any request for a particular date. The practitioner can obtain a copy of the amended application/creditor's petition bearing the new court date once accepted by the Registry by printing a sealed copy from eLodgment or via the Commonwealth Courts Portal (CCP) (refer to paragraph [10.2] of this guide in relation to appearing in court at the return date of an unserved application/creditor's petition).
14.1 Handwritten amendments to court documents (including a creditor's petition) are not considered appropriate now that court files are electronic. All amendments to court documents should be lodged electronically through the eLodgment facility.
14.2 Parties and practitioners must also ensure that the listing information on a creditor's petition and any other originating process records the correct court date, time and location where the petition or proceeding is listed. The procedure for amending an application or creditor's petition is outlined above at paragraph .
15.1 Orders are produced by the Court electronically and can be accessed directly by parties via the Federal Law Search or through the Commonwealth Courts Portal (CCP). Parties can view and print a sealed copy of all orders from the CCP. Parties can expect that sealed sequestration orders will be available within 1 day of the order being made, and all other court orders within 2 days of the order being made.
16.1 The Court uses a standard form of order in most Judicial Registrar bankruptcy matters including standard form of sequestration and adjournment orders. Wherever appropriate, the Court will use the standard form of orders.
16.2 Standard orders (DOCX, 35 KB) are available on the Federal Court website.
17.1 Generally, the Court will make a lump sum order unless it is not appropriate to do so.
17.2 In matters where a sequestration order is made, the Court will generally fix costs in accordance with the short form amount. This will include any costs reserved on adjournment. Parties are to eLodge as correspondence a statement of costs and disbursements in accordance with the short form amount in advance of the court hearing. The statement of costs should not be eLodged as a short form bill as this will attract a filing fee.
17.3 The short form amount allowed for sequestration orders can be found in Schedule 3 of the Federal Court Rules 2011.
17.4 Guidance on how to address GST related costs issues is provided in the Costs Practice Note (GPN-Costs). Generally a GST amount will be excluded for any party who is registered for GST purposes and entitled to claim an input tax credit. In the absence of a GST disclosure the court will generally not allow a GST amount.
17.5 Where a creditor's petition is dismissed, the Court may in appropriate circumstances, on application, make a costs order in accordance with (or consistent with) the short form amount. The short form amount allowed for a dismissed petition can be found in Schedule 3, item 14.2 of the Court Rules.
17.6 The Court will generally require proof that the statement of costs and disbursements has been served on all relevant parties/ persons. Parties applying for a costs order should lodge through eLodgment a statement of costs and disbursements and any affidavit of service of the statement in advance of the hearing.
17.7 Where proceedings are to be dismissed because the debt has been repaid at very short notice, and a statement of costs and disbursements has not been served or the costs agreed by the other party, a Judicial Registrar may, in appropriate circumstances, consider fixing costs with a direction that the costs orders be served with leave granted to any interested party to apply to have the costs order set aside or varied within seven days of receiving the order. Alternatively the parties may request that a Judicial Registrar adjourn the matter for a short period so that the statement of costs and disbursements can be served and any other steps taken to finalise the matter. If not opposed, the Judicial Registrar may announce the final costs order on the adjourned date in open court without the parties having to attend.
17.8 Where a debtor's petition was accepted shortly before the court date and a statement of costs and disbursements has not been served on the Official Receiver or Trustee, the Court may, in appropriate circumstances, order fixed costs with a direction that the applicant serve a copy of the order upon the Official Receiver or Trustee (as the costs respondent) within 7 days with leave given to the Official Receiver or Trustee to apply to the Court to vary or set aside the costs order within 7 days.
17.9 For general practice information on costs related issues practitioners are referred to the Court's Costs Practice Note (GPN-Costs).
17.10 A standard form of costs orders (DOCX, 35 KB) the Court may make in appropriate circumstances are available on the Federal Court website.
18.1 Where personal service of a creditor's petition or delivery of a bankruptcy notice cannot be effected, an applicant may apply to the Court for an order for substituted service.
18.3 After a substituted service application is filed, the application will be allocated to a Judicial Registrar and listed in eCourtroom. It is anticipated that the Judicial Registrar will consider the application within 10 business days of filing.
18.4 Bankruptcy Information Sheet 5 gives an overview on how to apply for a substituted service order of a petition or bankruptcy notice; on what evidence would generally be required before such an order is made and on procedural matters relating to these applications.
19.1 This guide applies to all Registrar bankruptcy matters. Bankruptcy matters and all personal insolvency matters within a Judicial Registrar's delegated authority in the Court fall within the General & Personal Insolvency sub area of the Court's Commercial and Corporations National Practice Area (NPA).
19.2 Parties should refer to the General and Personal Insolvency Sub-Area Practice Note GPI-2 which is in Practice Notes. This link also contains more practice information on proceedings commenced in the Court within this NPA, and the Court’s National Court Framework (NCF).
19.3 Information and guidance on costs related matters can be found in the Costs Practice Note (GPN-Costs).
19.4 Parties are also referred to the Bankruptcy Information Sheets referred to in paragraph [3.2] above that are released with this guide.
20.1 In communicating with the Registry about a Judicial Registrar matter, practitioners are to put their requests in writing by eLodging the request as correspondence and sending an email to the Legal Case Manager/Lawyer to the Judicial Registrar hearing the matter (or to the Registry if there is no Legal Case Manager) copying in each other party to the proceeding confirming that the request has been eLodged. Practitioners are referred to Central Practice Note: National Court Framework and Case Management (CPN-1) (paragraph [15.3]) for further guidance about communicating with Chambers and the Registry in matters before the Court.
20.2 When sending an email message in a Judicial Registrar matter, it is expected that a party will:
a) Address the email to the relevant Legal Case Manager and not to the Judicial Registrar directly
b) Clearly state the Court's action number, parties' names and any Court dates in the subject heading
c) Provide a clear description of any attached documents in the body of the email message, and
d) Copy the message to all other parties (if applicable).
- Parties should wherever practicable eLodge any documents (including correspondence) relevant to a Judicial Registrar matter.
- Applications which require a fee to be paid are to be eLodged.
- A party may not file a document by email; documents submitted by email will not be accepted for filing by the Registry and will not form part of the court file.
21.1 Listing information for a Judicial Registrar's bankruptcy list is available in Daily Court Lists.
21.2 The Registry aims to publish the Judicial Registrar Court Lists for the following day by 4pm.
22.1 Contact details for the Court's registries are available on the Court's website.
23.1 Self-represented litigants will be supported by the Registry to assist them through the court process efficiently. Refer to Information for Litigants for further information.
23.2 A self-representation service is available to litigants in each Registry. The service provides free, confidential and impartial legal and/or financial advice and assistance with Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court proceedings for individuals and community groups. For further details contact the nearest Registry.
24.1 The Court provides an electronic lodgment (eLodgment) facility through which a document that commences a proceeding or is relevant to an existing proceeding may be lodged for filing online.
24.2 The use of eLodgment provides many benefits to court users. It is available from each user's computer at any time and provides a complete record of all lodgement transactions with the Court.
24.3 eLodgment also allows court users to lodge other documents regarding a proceeding, for example: a draft order, terms of consent and case management correspondence.
24.5 eCourtroom is a virtual courtroom that assists in the management of matters by allowing directions and final orders to be made online.
24.6 Once lodged applications will be given a return date with the location as 'eCourtroom'. Practitioners must ensure that when an application is lodged, the full name and email address of the practitioner who will be conducting the eCourtroom hearing is provided at the foot of the first page of the application. More than one practitioner's name and email address may be provided.
24.7 For each application, practitioners will receive a further email notifying them that the particular matter has been set up in eCourtroom. The Judicial Registrar allocated to deal with the matter will then communicate with each practitioner.
24.8 Before or on the eCourtroom return date the Judicial Registrar will:
a) consider the filed evidence, any communications and the draft orders forwarded by the applicant, and
b) make appropriate orders, notify parties (applicant in these ex parte matters) and provide a sealed copy of the order.
Commonwealth Courts Portal
24.9 Filed documents in a matter can be viewed by parties or those authorised by a party on the Commonwealth Courts Portal. The Commonwealth Courts Portal (CCP) provides web-based services for court users to access information about cases before the Court. Parties may register for the CCP to gain access to documents which have been eLodged, as well as orders of the Court, judgments and listing events (past or future). More information about the CCP can be found in Online Services.
Federal Law Search
24.10 Alternatively, stamped court orders are also available via Federal Law Search. The Federal Law Search facility provides selected information on cases to members of the public.
Updated July 2022