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 Jun 2020: Nugawela v Commissioner of Taxation (No 3) [2020] FCA 773
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for leave to amend grounds of appeal - where findings previously made on merit of grounds of appeal - where application proposes relief in terms which would amend reasons of Administrative Appeals Tribunal - application dismissed
    Judge: Colvin J
  • 28 May 2020: Secatore, in the matter of Last Lap Pty Ltd (in liq) (No 2) [2020] FCA 735
    COSTS - examinee successfully obtained disclosure of liquidator's affidavit in support of issue of summonses for examination - examinee established arguable case that the issue of summonses exceeded court's power - liquidator refused to provide electronic copies of supporting affidavit - whether costs should be reserved pending substantive…
    Judge: Anderson J
  • 18 May 2020: Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Zappia (No 2) [2020] FCA 669
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for stay of orders - where stay sought is limited to allow the filing of a notice of appeal - where certain undertakings given to the Court in support of stay application - application granted
    Judge: Jagot J
  • 15 May 2020: Reaper v Baycorp Collections PDL (Australia) Pty Limited [2020] FCA 631
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - appeal from a decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia - where the court made vexatious proceedings orders against the appellant and permanently stayed multiple interlocutory applications - procedural fairness - where orders incorrectly identified the date of the vexatious proceeding application - appellant not…
    Judge: Snaden J
  • 14 May 2020: Frigger v Kitay (No 3) [2020] FCA 650
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - costs - whether costs should follow the event on multiple interlocutory applications - - whether costs should be awarded in a lump sum - whether costs should be payable within 14 days
    Judge: Charlesworth J
  • 14 May 2020: Bechara v Bates (No 2) [2020] FCA 659
    Judge: Allsop CJ
  • 14 May 2020: Secatore, in the matter of Last Lap Pty Ltd (in liq) [2020] FCA 627
    INSOLVENCY - company in liquidation for nearly 28 years - liquidator obtained issue of summonses for examination of various persons - application by examinee for liquidator's affidavit in support of issue of summonses - whether arguable case that issue of summonses exceeded court's power, and that access to supporting affidavit is likely to assist …
    Judge: Anderson J
  • 8 May 2020: Kessly v Beadle as Trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Evangelina Francisca Kessly [2020] FCA 607
    BANKRUPTCY - application to annul bankruptcy pursuant to s 153B(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - whether sequestration order ought not to have been made - whether applicant solvent at the time of sequestration order - whether applicant solvent now - no basis established for the Court to look behind the judgments upon which sequestration order …
    Judge: Burley J
  • 6 May 2020: Mehajer (Bankrupt) v Weston (Trustee) [2020] FCA 596
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - application for extension of time to file a notice of appeal - where no explanation for delay - where proposed appeal has no merit and no reasonable prospects of success - application dismissed
    Judge: Markovic J
  • 1 May 2020: Jong (Trustee) v Au, in the matter of Au [2020] FCA 585
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - cross-border insolvency - Hong Kong bankruptcy proceeding - application for recognition of a foreign main proceeding pursuant to the Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008 (Cth) and the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law - relief granted pursuant to Art 21 of the…
    Judge: O'Callaghan 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.