LAW 7115 - Insolvency Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

The course will cover insolvency of corporations and individuals, and will include: (1) An introduction to the theory, policy and history of insolvency law, and to its fundamental principles; (2) An introduction to the main forms of insolvency procedure for individuals (bankruptcy and its alternatives) and corporations (liquidation, voluntary administration, and receivership); (3) Issues in relation to personal insolvency including consumer bankruptcy, the property of the bankrupt 'estate', and the rights of bankrupts and restrictions upon them; (4) The role and duties of directors; (5) The regulation and reform of insolvency law and the profession, and 'globalisation' of insolvency law and practice through involvement of international bodies; (6) An introduction to cross-border insolvency. By the end of the course students should have a grounding in the basic principles and rules of Australian insolvency law, an understanding of, and ability to evaluate, the key theoretical and policy issues affecting insolvency law and its reform, an appreciation of contemporary international developments, and an ability to research and analyse problems on Australian insolvency law.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7115
    Course Insolvency Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    Assessment Typically will include either a research essay or examination.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Christopher Symes

    Course Coordinator: Professor (Dr) Christopher Symes
    Room: 2.23 Ligertwood
    Ph: 83134452
    Mobile: 0407396070
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Four days: March 16 March 23 April 8 and April 9
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Further the student’s knowledge of personal and corporate insolvency law, practice and regulation
    2. Further the student’s ability, analyse and solve practical issues and problems associated with the personal and corporate insolvency law
    3. Evaluate selected Australian personal and corporate insolvency law issues in the global context
    4. Gain knowledge of international developments in selected personal and corporate insolvency law issues
    5. Develop critical thinking using personal and corporate insolvency law
    6. Apply excellent research skills
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    As this is a Masters level course there is no one text book that covers all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency at the depth explored in this course.

    However, the undergraduate text Symes, Brwon and Lombard Australian Insolvency Law 4th ed (2019) is certainly a useful resource.
    There is also a companion casebook: Symes,Brown & Wellard Australian Insolvency Law Cases Materials (2016). 

    See also Keay's Insolvency Personal and Corporate Law and Practice 10th ed (2018) by Murray and Harris - Australia.

    Access to current legislation the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) is essential. 

    Insolvency law is dynamic so books can become out of date as far as detail is concerned, and some books are overseas texts, so bear that in mind when reading (e.g. UK, US) . 

    Key relevant general texts are:

    Finch, Corporate Insolvency Law, Perspectives and Principles, 2nd ed Cambridge (2009), UK

    O’Donovan, Company Receivers and Administrators (looseleaf, 2 volumes)- (Aus) This is a practitioner book frequently updated

    Australian Corporations Law (CCH, looseleaf)

    Annotated Bankruptcy Act 1966 6th ed
    by Paul Nichols (Lexisnexis, 2014)

    Fletcher, The Law of Insolvency 4th ed (2009) UK

    Other leading Australian Company Law textbooks (e.g. Ford, or Lipton, Herzberg and Welsh) will contain useful introductory chapters on insolvency law.

    Recommended Resources
    Journals that are important in Insolvency Law include

    Insolvency Law Journal (Thomson Reuters, Aus)

    Insolvency Law Bulletin (Lexisnexis, Aus)

    International Insolvency Review (INSOL published in UK)

    Insolvency Law and Practice (UK)

    Insolvency Intelligence (UK)

    Australian Insolvency Journal (Journal of IPA/ARITA

    Company and Securities Law Journal (Aus)

    Australian Journal of Corporate Law

    On-line sites that are important include

    Large lawfirms in Australia will have webpages dedicated to Restructuring and Insolvency matters.

    For example see

    Online Learning
    There are numerous lectures which will be uploaded using the on-line platform MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Learning and Teaching Activities of 24 hours structured learning will be offered to students in this course in the form of readings, face to face.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours of private study in addition to your regular classes.

    Learning Activities Summary
    The following Modules will be delivered through lectures, directed reading and discussion of the materials for each module.
    Module Topic
    1 An introduction to the theory, policy and history of insolvency law, and to its fundamental principles;
    2 An introduction to the main forms of insolvency procedure for individuals (bankruptcy and its alternatives) and corporations (liquidation, voluntary administration, and receivership);
    3 Issues in relation to personal insolvency including consumer bankruptcy, the property of the bankrupt ‘estate’, alternatives to bankruptcy, and the rights of bankrupts and restrictions upon them;
    4 The role and duties of directors;
    5 The position of security and rights and duties of secured creditors;
    6 The regulation and reform of insolvency law and the profession, ethical issues, and ‘globalisation’ of insolvency law and practice through involvement of international bodies.
    7 An introduction to cross-border insolvency
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Redeemable Length Learning Outcome
    Quiz Individual 20/4/2020 10% No 20 Questions 1,2
    Case Analysis Individual 28/4/2020 30% No 2000 words 1-5
    Research essay Individual 11/5/2020 60% No 5000 words 1-6
    Assessment Detail
    Quiz- 10%
    A quiz of 20 questions in multiple choice form to assess fundamental concepts and terminology learned in the first two modules.

    Case Analysis- 30%
    Students must choose an insolvency law case from readings or otherwise and write a note and critical analysis about the relevance and context of the case.

    Research Assignment - 60%
    The research paper may be on any aspect of insolvency law you choose, and can build upon the area of your case analysis if you wish. The precise topic/title must be approved by the Coordinator, and advice will be given to those who need help choosing or framing a topic. Further criteria for the research assignment will be notified at the start of the course.
    Standard Adelaide Law School submission requirements apply. Specific information will be provided in the assessment instructions for each item of assessment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.