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

  • 13 Sep 2021: Westpac Banking Corporation v State of Western Australia [2021] FCA 1097
    BANKRUPTCY - application by mortgagee for order vesting bankrupt's 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
  • 10 Sep 2021: Ganesh v Dobrowolski (No 2) [2021] FCA 1085
    PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - costs - bankruptcy - appeal from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia - where appeal dismissed - whether any basis to depart from usual order that costs follow the event
    Judge: Moshinsky J
  • 9 Sep 2021: Wameja Limited, in the matter of Wameja Limited (No 2) [2021] FCA 1130
    CORPORATIONS - members' scheme of arrangement - application under s 411(4)(b) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to approve members' scheme of arrangement - application for order under s 411(12) of the Corporations Act for exemption from compliance with s 411(11) - where scheme meeting was convened in accordance with the Court's orders - where…
    Judge: Farrell J
  • 7 Sep 2021: Zhang v Yan (No 2) [2021] FCA 1076
    COSTS - award of costs - where not all of the successful respondents' arguments were accepted - costs nevertheless awarded in favour of respondent - order for release of sum paid into court as security for costs - whether the unsuccessful appellant entitled to a costs certificate under Federal Proceedings (Costs) Act 1981 (Cth)
    Judge: O'Bryan J
  • 1 Sep 2021: Nelson v Thompson [2021] FCA 1055
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - claim brought against former solicitor - solicitor became bankrupt - whether leave should be granted to take a step in a proceeding pursuant to s 58(3) Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - application allowed.
    Judge: Downes J
  • 1 Sep 2021: Wilson v Arwon Finance Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 1052
    BANKRUPTCY - application to set aside bankruptcy notices pursuant to s 40(1)(g) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - whether the off-setting claim could have been set up in the proceeding in which the judgment debt was obtained - whether 'could have been set up' is to be construed strictly as referring only to legal impediments to bringing the…
    Judge: McKerracher J
  • 23 Aug 2021: Watton v Whitton (Trustee), in the matter of Watton (No 2) [2021] FCA 1003
    COSTS - costs determined on the papers - where originating application dismissed - where Calderbank offers made - whether applicant acted unreasonably in refusing respondent's Calderbank offer -- where respondent seeks costs partially on an ordinary basis and partially on an indemnity basis - where no submissions as to costs were made by applicant …
    Judge: Farrell J
  • 20 Aug 2021: Morris v State of Queensland [2021] FCA 989
    BANKRUPTCY - disclaimer of real property by trustee in bankruptcy pursuant to s 133(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - application by former bankrupt for a vesting order of property subject to a mortgage under s 133(9) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) - where the applicant claims an equitable interest in the property - where the value of the…
    Judge: Downes J
  • 19 Aug 2021: Amirbeaggi as trustee of the bankrupt estate of Hanna v Hanna [2021] FCA 988
    BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY - application for leave to file a cross-claim where time allowed by court orders has already elapsed
    Judge: Yates J
  • 19 Aug 2021: Alhalek v Quintiliani trading as Kells Lawyers (No 3) [2021] FCAFC 150
    COSTS - application for indemnity costs by successful respondent - where appeal bound to fail and appellant's conduct of proceedings inimical to overarching purpose of civil practice and procedure provisions of Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and Rules, whether order should be made that costs be paid on indemnity basis
    Judge: Katzmann, Derrington and Anastassiou JJ


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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.