Consumer insolvency in Australia

Duns, John and Mason, Rosalind (2001) Consumer insolvency in Australia. International Insolvency Review, 10 (3). pp. 195-228. ISSN 1180-0518


This paper seeks to identify and assess the features of Australian bankruptcy regulation as they apply to consumer insolvency. Although Australian bankruptcy law makes no explicit recognition of 'consumer bankruptcy' as a regulatory target in itself, the Australian legislation nevertheless has a number of features that impact on what would generally be seen to be consumer bankrupts. After providing an outline of the legislative framework within which consumer bankruptcy operates, the paper examines the consumer insolvency aspects of this legislation, together with an assessment of proposed reforms. Some brief comparisons of the ‘consumer’ features of Australian regulation with that of the more fully developed consumer provisions of the Canadian and the United States bankruptcy legislation, are made in order to highlight the Australian position.

The Australian Act has historically drawn heavily on English bankruptcy legislation but inevitably Australia has to some extent developed along its own path. Notable is the reasonably vigorous approach to discharge from bankruptcy. The proposed reforms to the Bankruptcy Act, which have followed a detailed consultative process, are largely directed to consumer debtors. Some of these reforms are directed against a perceived debtor abuse of the bankruptcy system. Other reforms, such as increasing the availability of debt agreements, are more generous to insolvent debtors. On the whole the reforms appear to be based more on political than empirical grounds.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made not accessible
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Law (Up to 31 Mar 2007)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Law (Up to 31 Mar 2007)
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2007 11:47
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:20
Uncontrolled Keywords: law reform; bankruptcy; legislation
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160510 Public Policy
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1502 Banking, Finance and Investment > 150205 Investment and Risk Management
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180105 Commercial and Contract Law
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440709 Public policy
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3502 Banking, finance and investment > 350208 Investment and risk management
48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4806 Private law and civil obligations > 480699 Private law and civil obligations not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
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