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 Judicial 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 Judicial Registrar

A significant proportion of bankruptcy matters are case managed and determined by Judicial 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 Judicial Registrar has been prepared to assist litigants involved in bankruptcy matters before a Judicial Registrar and relevant information for Judicial 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

  • 18 Oct 2019: Davey v Dessco Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1735
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - costs - interim application by the respondent to review a costs order made by a registrar of the court - application of Bell Lawyers Pty Ltd v Pentelow [2019] HCA 29 ("Bell") - abolition of the "Chorley exception" - where a costs order is made in favour of a self-represented litigant who is also a lawyer - whether phrasing …
    Judge: Snaden J
  • 11 Oct 2019: Coomber v Butler [2019] FCA 1674
    BANKRUPTCY - review of a Registrar's decision dismissing an application to set aside a bankruptcy notice - no prima facie case of sufficient strength to warrant setting aside the bankruptcy notice - application for review dismissed, with costs
    Judge: Griffiths J
  • 10 Oct 2019: Cole v Australian Financial Security Authority [2019] FCA 1676
    BANKRUPTCY - application under s 33A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) for orders altering the date of filing of a statement of affairs - where applicant believed on reasonable grounds that the statement of affairs had been filed in September 2016 - where trustees raised no objection - orders made
    Judge: Colvin J
  • 10 Oct 2019: Batterham v Nauer, in the matter of Peter James Batterham [2019] FCA 1648
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for summary dismissal of appeal from single Judge of the Federal Court of Australia - application resolved by a single Judge - appeal having no prospects of success - order striking out a notice of appeal PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - order of primary Judge summarily dismissing a proceeding - interlocutory decision…
    Judge: Flick J
  • 9 Oct 2019: Commonwealth Bank of Australia v State of Queensland [2019] FCA 1695
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application under s 133(9) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - disclaimed property - criteria in s 133(9) satisfied - application allowed
    Judge: Rangiah J
  • 9 Oct 2019: Scott, in the matter of Le [2019] FCA 1661
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - sale of property - where order sought for the sale of property of a bankrupt - where property co-owned by another non-bankrupt person - whether appropriate to appoint trustee in bankruptcy as the trustee for sale of the property
    Judge: Steward J
  • 27 Sep 2019: Central Coast Council v Armstrong [2019] FCA 1613
    Judge: Kerr J
  • 26 Sep 2019: Kerr as trustee of the property of Janice Mary Kehlet (a bankrupt) v Kehlet [2019] FCA 1572
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - matrimonial home in sole name of wife - where in the period beginning 5 years before the commencement of the wife's bankruptcy the wife transferred her interest in the matrimonial home to her husband - whether it may be inferred that it was intended that each of the spouses should have a one-half interest in the…
    Judge: Robertson J
  • 26 Sep 2019: Shaw v The Official Trustee in Bankruptcy Vic 1697/14/1 of Australian Financial Security Authority (No 2) [2019] FCA 1574
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - proof of debt - application to review trustee's decisions to admit proof of debt - judgment debt in the form of costs orders - whether the court should go behind costs orders - whether debt is owed - whether a joint proof of debt is permissible - trustee's decision to admit proof of debt confirmed - application…
    Judge: Snaden J
  • 25 Sep 2019: Burnett v Browne (No 2) [2019] FCA 1597
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - whether Court has jurisdiction to entertain application for stay of order dismissing appeal from a decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia pending filing of an application for special leave - Court has jurisdiction PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for stay of order dismissing appeal from a decision of the…
    Judge: Kerr 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.