Sole traders and insolvency

A report on the financial business health of Australian small business takes the novel approach of looking at sole traders. Behind that positive image of being one’s own boss and personal work/life balance lies the lack of protection from Australia’s severe bankruptcy laws. While the government has touted its new rather ineffective company insolvency laws, […]

Trust law and insolvency – views of the NSW Chief Justice; law reform prospects

A paper given by the NSW Chief Justice, Tom Bathurst – ‘Commercial trusts and the liability of beneficiaries: are commercial trusts a satisfactory vehicle to be used in modern day commerce?’ – discusses the need for law reform despite, as he says, insolvency law and trust law being “perhaps the world’s most unexciting and complex […]

High Court confirms principles of judicial independence

The High Court of Australia has found that social communications between a judge and a lawyer for a litigant in a matter that the judge was hearing raised a reasonable apprehension of bias.  The family law matter commenced in 2006 and is still going.  One consequence is that the Australian Law Reform Commission is now […]

Electronic delivery of documents in bankruptcy and liquidation – continued

In my earlier comments trying to work out why we now have unharmonized drafting approaches and rules for electronic service of insolvency documents, depending on whether corporate or personal insolvency is involved, I said I had asked relevant agencies in Canberra and that when any thoughtful reply arrived, I would report it. Electronic delivery of […]

Corporate Collective Investment Vehicles

The government is consulting on a Bill in line with what it says is its commitment “to establishing a commercially viable regime for corporate collective investment vehicles (CCIVs) from 1 July 2022. A CCIV is an investment vehicle with a corporate structure – designed to be an alternative to a trust-based managed investment scheme”.  Corporate Collective […]

UK insolvency practitioners – “evidence of intimidation, deception, dishonesty and even misappropriation of assets”?

A very critical report on the insolvency profession in the UK – Resolving-Insolvency-APPG-on-Fair-Business-Banking-and-Humphries-Kerstetter.pdf (  has come from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, of September 2021. The dramatic opening lines of the report are these: The production of this report has been a sobering experience. We started out aware of a number […]

Reinventing the Australian Insolvency System

At a seminar on 4 August 2021, Jason Harris and I presented our ideas on reform of the insolvency system in Australia, which we have been developing for some time, including in our text book, Keay’s Insolvency++.  We are saying that the state needs to take on a greater role in the structure and operation […]

Australian personal insolvency and small business reform in the wake of Covid

An overseas publisher has asked me to give an update on the latest in small business bankruptcy law in Australia, for a comparative article, the publisher asking what was the outcome of the various reforms in Australia proposed earlier in the year.  That prompted me to review the state of play and come up with […]