Singapore’s new small business restructuring and liquidation regime – a “move away from earlier efforts to ‘hold the line'”

The Singapore parliament passed the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution (Amendment) Bill 2020 on 3 November 2020. It will amend the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 to introduce simplified debt compromise and winding up measures to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and to broaden the range of practitioners authorised to implement those measures.

The Minister is reported as saying that

“the aim now is to move away from earlier efforts to “hold the line”, and to encourage restructuring and exits if it makes sense”.

According to the Singapore Law Watch, that response was given in reply to a suggestion in parliament that the existing relief measures relating to bankruptcy and corporate insolvency be extended.

Singapore, like Australia, is anticipating a large number of insolvent businesses needing attention.  Also like Australia, the detail of the Singapore reforms will be found in regulations, yet to be released; although at this stage, Australia has only a draft Bill.  Unlike Australia, the Official Receiver in Singapore will play a central co-ordinating role in assessing applications for assistance and allocating practitioners.

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