Australia’s current major bankruptcy law reforms are necessarily informed by a range of academic and professional input, from here and overseas.
Papers from QUT’s major international personal insolvency conference in 2016 have just been published in the QUT Law Review, including a new account of details of the bankruptcy of our former Chief Justice, Sir Garfield Barwick. His bankruptcy represents the ultimate ‘fresh start’ but not without much personal impact, described in the paper, being suffered.
The QUT conference in September 2016 – a Fresh Look at Fresh Start: The Human Dimension to Bankruptcy – attracted delegates from academics, accountants, economists, financial counsellors, lawyers, regulators, policy makers and non-profit organisations, bringing perspectives from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
While the major current focus in insolvency is upon salvaging economic value, through our ‘safe harbour’ and other related reforms, the harsh reality is that many more people experience financial stress as over-indebted consumers or ‘owners’ of micro/small/medium sized enterprises. MSME insolvency is itself is a current corporate insolvency focus, in the proposed phoenix company reforms, and internationally, through UNCITRAL INSOL International and the World Bank.
Other papers are from Professor Iain Ramsay of the UK, Professor Jay Westbrook’s The Retreat of American Bankruptcy Law; some Japanese ideas on reforming Australia’s bankruptcy laws, New Zealand’s perspective on protecting pension savings in bankruptcy, and what is described as a looming ‘mid-life crisis’ in superannuation and bankruptcy, wriiten by local academics and Jason Bettles, an experienced bankruptcy trustee.
Michael Murray QUT Law.