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

  • 3 Aug 2021: Aravanis (Trustee) v Twin Investors Pty Ltd, in the matter of the Bankrupt Estate of Kapp (Admissibility Ruling) [2021] FCA 899
    EVIDENCE - where evidence obtained by Official Receiver under Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) s 77C - where Applicants tendered transcript of Official Receiver's examination - whether transcript admissible under Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) s 77C(3) and s 255(2) despite Evidence Act 1995 (Cth)
    Judge: Perram J
  • 22 Jul 2021: Watton v Whitton (Trustee), in the matter of Watton [2021] FCA 832
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application for enforcement of claimed contract said to be partly written and partly oral between applicant and former bankrupt in relation to division of marital assets upon claimed irretrievable breakdown of their marriage in September 2006 - application dismissed EQUITY - part performance - whether applicant's…
    Judge: Farrell J
  • 16 Jul 2021: Donoghue v Russells (A Firm) [2021] FCA 798
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - appeal against judgment of Federal Circuit Court of Australia - Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - where primary judge made sequestration order against debtor - whether primary judge erred in finding that debtor "was carrying on business in Australia" under s 43(1)(b)(iii) - whether primary judge erred in finding that debtor…
    Judge: Rangiah J
  • 13 Jul 2021: Frigger v Trenfield [2021] FCA 792
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for security for costs - where applicants are bankrupts - whether in interests of justice that there be order for security - consideration of merits of substantive application for orders for annulment and to set aside sequestration orders - application allowed
    Judge: Colvin J
  • 12 Jul 2021: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited v James (No 3) [2021] FCA 788
    BANKRUPTCY - creditor's petition - whether preconditions on the exercise of the discretion to make a sequestration order are satisfied - respondent debtor opposes creditor's petition in circumstances where the amended notice of grounds of opposition to the creditor's petition were withdrawn during the course of proceedings - consideration of…
    Judge: Cheeseman J
  • 9 Jul 2021: Yit (Trustee), in the matter of Lee (Bankrupt) v Lee [2021] FCA 886
    BANKRUPTCY - application for recognition of foreign proceeding as a foreign main proceeding pursuant to Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008 (Cth) and Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law - Singapore bankruptcy proceeding - foreign bankrupt identified as owning asset in Australia - centre of…
    Judge: Derrington J
  • 8 Jul 2021: Ambrose v Badcock [2021] FCA 881
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for an order that interim relief be granted on an ex parte basis - application requiring consideration to be given to likely cooperativeness of the absent respondent - presiding judge having prior dealings with the absent respondent in prior litigation - combination of facts and circumstances giving rise to an…
    Judge: Charlesworth J
  • 7 Jul 2021: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited v James (No 2) [2021] FCA 784
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for production of documents - objection to production on the basis of legal advice privilege - parties consented to docket judge adjudicating on the privilege claim - Held : claim for legal advice privilege upheld
    Judge: Cheeseman J
  • 7 Jul 2021: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited v James [2021] FCA 768
    BANKRUPTCY - Application for leave to enlarge grounds in a notice of opposition to creditor's petition - application brought at a late stage of the proceedings and if granted would necessitate the vacation of the hearing - whether leave to amend ought to be granted - whether any prejudice may be cured by compensation - public interest factors…
    Judge: Cheeseman J
  • 2 Jul 2021: Chang v Haughton, in the matter of Haughton [2021] FCA 765
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for an order on default of the Applicant seeking a stay of sequestration orders pursuant to r 5.23 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) - failure to comply with Court orders and attend the hearing of his interlocutory application - default order granted - interlocutory application dismissed.
    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.