The Federal Government has gone ahead with an earlier suggestion of the Productivity Commission to make the usual time for automatic discharge from bankruptcy one year. The default period of bankruptcy will thus move from three years to one year if passed as expected by Federal Parliament Bankruptcy Amendment (Enterprise Incentives) Bill 2017, introduced on 19 October 2017.
We think that this is expedient to our insolvency laws. The gains are not all pro-debtor (less time being bankrupt means less restriction on overseas travel, reduced time for disclosure of bankruptcy for credit purposes) because income contribution obligations of discharged bankrupts will extend for at least two years following discharge. Trustees who have had the three year ‘long game’ as a mindset will now need to rethink their approach to investigations and the general administration of the estate. Note that these changes are retrospective so apply to existing bankruptcy administrations, although matters like objections to discharge have been given a concession with a phase-in period.
ROCIT organises training days for Bankruptcy Trustees and there is no guessing what the 2018 topics will feature. Adelaide Law School’s Graduate Certificate in Insolvency Law commenced with its first intake in 2017, and in 2018 a new course, Personal Bankruptcy Law and Practice will be offered in May following the core course of Insolvency Law in April. Both these courses are online, contact Justine.Dzonsons@adelaide.edu.au
Professor Christopher Symes
Adelaide Law School