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 and Family Court of Australia.

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

  • 1 Dec 2021: Pekar v Jess (Trustee) [2021] FCA 1519
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for stay of proceedings - application dismissed
    Judge: Mortimer J
  • 1 Dec 2021: Frigger v Trenfield (No 10) [2021] FCA 1500
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application for declarations that various assets held in regulated superannuation fund and so not divisible among creditors - s 116(2)(d)(iii)(A) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - principles as to when an asset is part of a fund - beneficial or remedial legislation - possible disposition of property after sequestration …
    Judge: Jackson J
  • 29 Nov 2021: Ogbonna v CTI Logistics Limited [2021] FCA 1491
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application to set aside bankruptcy notice - where application relied upon existence of counterclaim, set-off or cross-demand being claim in defamation for damages - where defamation claim dismissed and attempts to appeal unsuccessful - where applicant now seeks to rely on claim of fraud, conspiracy and judicial…
    Judge: Colvin J
  • 22 Nov 2021: Ritson v Commissioner of Police (NSW) [2021] FCAFC 208
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - appeal against sequestration order made by Federal Circuit Court - whether claim for damages in District Court of Queensland was other sufficient cause within meaning of s 52(2)(b) Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - whether leave should have been given to reopen case and admit documents obtained through third party discovery…
    Judge: Allsop CJ, Lee and Downes JJ
  • 15 Nov 2021: Markel Syndicate Management Limited v Taylor as Liquidator of Heading Contractors Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) [2021] FCAFC 198
    INSURANCE - director of a company insured under director's liability policy - director became bankrupt and subsequently discharged from bankruptcy - insurance policy extended cover which would have been received by the director to, inter alia, his estate in the event of bankruptcy - whether the extension operated to indemnify the trustee in…
    Judge: Allsop CJ, Lee and Anastassiou JJ
  • 4 Nov 2021: Frigger v Trenfield (No 3) [2021] FCA 1471
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - interlocutory application to vacate the prior orders of the Court adjourning the applicants' application - where adjournment application was not opposed by the applicants - where appropriate remedy would be for the applicants to seek leave for an extension of time in which to appeal the Court's decision - interlocutory…
    Judge: Logan J
  • 1 Nov 2021: Robson as former trustee of the estate of Samsakopoulos v Body Corporate for Sanderling at Kings Beach CTS 2942 (No 2) [2021] FCAFC 190
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - whether appropriate for further order to determine amount of any loss or damage caused by trustee's conduct - where trustee retained possession of property of second respondent after dismissal of creditor's petition by Federal Circuit Court - where Full Court on appeal determined dismissal of creditor's petition eradicated …
    Judge: Allsop CJ, Markovic, Derrington, Colvin and Anastassiou JJ
  • 27 Oct 2021: Pekar v Jess (Trustee) [2021] FCA 1325
    BANKRUPTCY - application to set aside orders for possession of the home of the appellant and her husband (a former bankrupt) - application dismissed PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for leave to institute proceedings - where applicant previously declared vexatious and prohibited from instituting proceedings under s 37AO(2)(b) of the Federal…
    Judge: O'Callaghan J
  • 20 Oct 2021: Westpac Banking Corporation v State of Western Australia [2021] FCA 1264
    BANKRUPTCY - application by mortgagee for order vesting bankrupts' property in mortgagee - property disclaimed by trustee in bankruptcy - mortgagee seeks to utilise powers as if mortgagee in possession - just and equitable that property be vested in mortgagee
    Judge: Jackson J
  • 15 Oct 2021: Bettles as trustee of the bankrupt estate of Bruce v Bruce [2021] FCA 1248
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application to withdraw admission of disclaimer - explanation for application to withdraw admission - application to join new respondent parties - application to amend statement of claim and originating application - principles in Brady v Stapleton (1952) 88 CLR 322; [1952] HCA 62 - standard of evidence in interlocutory…
    Judge: Collier 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.