Insolvency Law

Subject 730-422 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008. Search for this in the current handbook Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour lecture per week
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory; Obligations; Contracts; Property or in each case their ­equivalents.
Corequisites: Corporations Law
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Mr M Gronow & Ms K Knights
Subject Overview:

An insolvency regime is a necessary part of the legal system in a capitalist economy. That is because a means is needed for dealing with businesses that fail, and individuals who cannot pay their debts. An insolvency regime is required to ensure that in those circumstances the insufficiency of assets is equitably distributed amongst the creditors. To ensure equitable distribution, liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy are given powers to enforce claims to assets and undo past transactions.
Insolvencies often raise legal, practical and theoretical questions of considerable interest, which are by no means confined to a narrow concept of "insolvency" itself. Consequently, insolvency lawyers require knowledge of many other areas of public and private law, including equity and trusts, corporations law, contract, property and securities law and constitutional and administrative law.
This subject involves a practical and theoretical examination of the law of personal insolvency (i.e. bankruptcy), and corporate insolvency. The subject will concentrate on the law currently applicable in Australia. It will, though, touch on foreign and historical insolvency regimes where they throw light on the content, theory and operation of the Australian insolvency system.
The subject will cover the process for placing individuals and companies under the various forms of insolvency administration under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 and the Corporations Act 2001, and what happens when that is done. Because the law of insolvency principally exists to serve economic and social policy objectives, an examination of those objectives and the extent to which they are well served by the current law will be an important part of the subject.
As well as discussing what the law is, students will be expected to consider why the law should be (or not be) as it is. They will also be expected to discuss what economic and social objectives should be served by the insolvency law, and what reforms might be desirable to make it serve them better than it does. It is hoped that students who complete this subject will have a fuller understanding of how the law serves policy objectives of Government and different interest groups in society.

Assessment: A research assignment of 5000 words, 100% (due end of semester)OR a final examination of three hours, 100%.
Prescribed Texts: Printed materials will be issued by the Faculty of LawCorporations Act 2001. Keay and Murray, Insolvency: Personal and Corporate Law and Practice, Thomson/LBC, 5th ed., 2005.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage
  • the capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources
  • the capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection
  • the capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information
  • the capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing
  • the capacity to plan and manage time

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Understanding and reasoning about the processes whereby social and economic policy objectives are translated into statutory and other law.
  • Applying knowledge gained in a number of different areas of law to analyse and discuss practical and theoretical legal problems.
  • Evaluating the extent to which legislation and case law achieves acceptable social and economic policy outcomes, and suggesting and designing improvements to the legal system.
  • Comparing and contrasting the current operation of the Australian legal system with other past and present legal systems.
  • Analysing complex legal problems involving the interaction of statute and case law, giving a concise statement of the effect of the relevant law, and applying it to given factual situations.

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