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

  • 24 Dec 2021: Ambrose v Badcock, in the matter of Badcock [2021] FCA 1647
    BANKRUPTCY - after-acquired property - whether income transferred to an interest bearing bank account constitutes after-acquired property to which ss 58 and 116 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) refers - application for declarations rejected.
    Judge: White J
  • 22 Dec 2021: Allison v Murphy (No 2) [2021] FCA 1631
    Judge: Allsop CJ
  • 20 Dec 2021: Australian Securities and Investment Commission v King [2021] FCA 1610
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - whether creditor with non-provable debt can present a creditor's petition - whether court has jurisdiction to make sequestration order - where creditor also has provable debts - where debtor is insolvent - whether creditor has to show special circumstances before sequestration order made - whether abuse of process -…
    Judge: Downes J
  • 17 Dec 2021: Harrison v Nandicorp Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 1603
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application by trustee in bankruptcy for declarations under s 30 Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) ('BA') - whether properties comprise assets of bankrupt estate - whether transactions voidable under BA s 120(1) TRUSTS AND TRUSTEES - where trustee found to have engaged in tortious deceit - whether trustee has a right of…
    Judge: Perram J
  • 17 Dec 2021: Shaw v The Official Trustee in Bankruptcy of the Australian Financial Security Authority (No 3) [2021] FCA 1569
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application by bankrupt for orders pursuant to s 90-10 and s 90-15 of Schedule 2 - Insolvency Practice Schedule (Bankruptcy) to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) including orders for the trustee to compensate the bankrupt estate for alleged breaches of trustee's duty - whether there were substantial grounds for believing,…
    Judge: Wigney J
  • 16 Dec 2021: Arwon Finance Pty Ltd v Wilson [2021] FCA 1599
    BANKRUPTCY - whether leave should be granted to amend the creditor's petition to record that the creditor would proceed on the basis that its security was surrendered - leave granted
    Judge: Banks-smith J
  • 15 Dec 2021: Mehajer v National Australia Bank, in the matter of Bankrupt Estate of Mehajer [2021] FCA 1642
    BANKRUPTCY -- application for order preventing mortgagee from exercising power of sale -- application for order allowing bankrupt applicant to dispose of real property vested in trustee of bankrupt estate -- applicant convicted of serious indictable offence in New South Wales -- standing to institute proceedings -- application dismissed with costs
    Judge: Jagot J
  • 3 Dec 2021: Lo Pilato (Trustee), in the matter of the Bankrupt Estate of Farmakis [2021] FCA 1525
    COSTS - bankrupt seeking interim relief against trustee in bankruptcy - non-party secured creditor granted leave to appear - interim relief discontinued - whether costs order should be made in favour of secured creditor - discretion of Court to award costs to non-parties - relevant principles
    Judge: Collier J
  • 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


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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.