LAW 7115 - Insolvency Law

North Terrace Campus - Winter - 2017

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 Winter
    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

    Professor (Dr) Christopher Symes
    Room 2.23 Ligertwood Building
    Phone 8313 4452
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1. To further the student’s knowledge and understanding of personal and corporate insolvency law, practice and regulation
    2. To further the student’s ability to understand, analyse and solve practical issues and problems associated with the personal and corporate       insolvency law
    3. To evaluate selected Australian personal and corporate insolvency law issues in the global context
    4. To gain awareness of international developments in selected personal and corporate insolvency law issues
    5. To develop critcial thinking using personal and corporate insolvency law
    6. To 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 Master 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 & Duns Australian Insolvency Law 3rd ed (2015) is certainly a useful, perhaps essential, read.
    There is also a companion casebook: Symes,Brown & Welland Australian Insolvency Law Cases Materials (2016). This also is a useful, perhaps essential, read.

    Practitoners will often refer to Keay's Insolvency Personal and Corporate Law and Practice 9th ed (2016) 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
    This course will be delivered on-line.
    There are numerous lectures and activities delivered using the on-line platform.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is to be delivered on-line.
    There are no face to face lectures or seminars scheduled.


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

    The workload is equivalent to a Level 8 AQF course as required by the Insolvency Practice Rules 2016 (Cth).

    Learning Activities Summary



    Course stage

    Course component


    Part I

    Module 1

    An introduction to the theory, policy and history of insolvency law, and to its fundamental principles

    Part I 

    Module 2

    An introduction to the main forms of insolvency procedure for individuals (bankruptcy and its alternatives) and corporations (liquidation, voluntary administration, and receivership)

    Part I 

    Module 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

    Part I 

    Module 4

    The role and duties of directors

    Part II 

    Module 5

    The position of security and rights and duties of secured creditors

    Part II 

    Module 6

    The regulation and reform of insolvency law and the profession, and 'globalisation' of insolvency law and practice through involvement of international bodies;

    Part II

    Module 7

    An introduction to cross-border insolvency


    Specific Course Requirements
  • 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


    Task name

      Due Date   

      of final mark

       Individual or group  


        Course Learning     

     Case comment






    Research essay 






    Assessment Detail
    Case comment -30%

    Assessment will be based on a written paper of a maximum 1500 words. The task is to identify the precedential value of a recent case chosen by the student. The written paper is due in August.

    Case comments can be written on any of the following areas:
    Definition of insolvency
     The property of the bankrupt ‘estate’
     Alternatives to bankruptcy (Part IX or Part X)
     The rights of bankrupts and restrictions upon them
     The role and duties of directors of insolvent companies
     The rights of secured creditors in corporate insolvencies
     The remuneration of insolvency professional
     Cross-border insolvency
    The sale of corporate assets by a receiver
    Public and private Examinations
    Proof of Debts
    Ranking of claims
    Challenges to liquidator’s actions
    Set off in bankruptcy
    Cases do not have to be long and complex nor necessarily the seminal case but should express a ratio to assist the class in understanding the area of insolvency law.

    Research Essay – 70%
    Word limit: 6000 words.

    The research paper may be on any aspect of insolvency law you choose, though can build upon your earlier case comment area if you wish. The precise topic/title must be approved by the course coordinator and advice will be given to those who need help choosing or framing a topic. Further criteria, and a timetable, 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.

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    Lex Salus was founded in 2013 by Adelaide Law School Wellbeing officers Ms Corinne Walding, Ms Kellie Toole and Dr Mark Giancaspro. Lex Salus is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at raising law student awareness of the importance of mental, physical and nutritional health across all year levels of the degree, and of the various counselling, disability and equity services both within and outside the University that can provide help. Research shows that law students, both in Australia and in many jurisdictions around the world, experience the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression out of any other discipline. Many do not get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet or achieve a realistic work/life balance. Making matters worse, they are unwilling or afraid to speak up for fear of feeling 'weak' or because of the negative stigma that attaches to seeking help. Lex Salus is dedicated to tackling these problems head-on.

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

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

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