LAW 3530 - Personal Insolvency Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2020

The course will examine the role of the law in relation to the theory, policy and procedures for dealing with multiple debt default and financial distress of individuals, including consumer insolvency issues. Whilst the course will focus on Australian law, there will be significant comparative aspects. Topics to be covered include the principles of the fresh start and equality of distributions, the history and purposes of the law, bankruptcy administration and regulation, the petitioning of bankruptcy through voluntary and compulsory methods, acts of bankruptcy, the roles of the trustee in bankruptcy, the effects of bankruptcy, the property of the bankrupt estate and its exemptions, investigations, recovery actions, realising property and income contributions, discharge, bankrupt deceased estates, alternatives to bankruptcy including Part X and Part IX administrations, and offences.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3530
    Course Personal Insolvency Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1506 or LAW 1511
    Incompatible LAW 3526 if taken prior to 2012
    Restrictions Available to LLB and B.Criminology with B.Laws and BArts Advanced with B.Laws students only
    Course Description The course will examine the role of the law in relation to the theory, policy and procedures for dealing with multiple debt default and financial distress of individuals, including consumer insolvency issues. Whilst the course will focus on Australian law, there will be significant comparative aspects.

    Topics to be covered include the principles of the fresh start and equality of distributions, the history and purposes of the law, bankruptcy administration and regulation, the petitioning of bankruptcy through voluntary and compulsory methods, acts of bankruptcy, the roles of the trustee in bankruptcy, the effects of bankruptcy, the property of the bankrupt estate and its exemptions, investigations, recovery actions, realising property and income contributions, discharge, bankrupt deceased estates, alternatives to bankruptcy including Part X and Part IX administrations, and offences.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Christopher Symes

    Professor (Dr) Christopher Symes
    room: 223 Ligertwood Building
    phone: 83134452
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

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

    1. Identify the key legal,econmoic and social concepts and practices used by bankruptcy trustees and personal insovency administrators
    2. Apply statutory interpretation tools to the Bankruptcy Act
    3. Explain the commencement, process, consequences, annulment and discharge of bankruptcy   
    4. Make logical and compelling decisons on the makeup of a bankruptcy estate and which claims of antecedent transactions to pursue
    5. Explain clearly and concisely in writing the role and limitations of cross border insolvency with critical thinking
    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
    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
    Symes, Brown and Lombard, Australian Insolvency Law (LexisNexis, 4th ed), 2019 ISBN 9780409349528

    Nicholas, Annotated Bankruptcy Act 1966 (LexisNexis, 7th ed), 2018 ISBN 9780409350289

    (access to the Legislation can be gained through austlii)

    Symes Brown & Wellard Australian Insolvency Law Cases and Materials book (LexisNexis) 2016 helpful ISBN 9780409340457
    Recommended Resources
    Murray & Harris, Keay’s Insolvency (Personal and Corporate Law and Practice), 10th edition 2018, Lawbook Co Parts I-III ISBN 9780455239811

    Students may find the casebook Insolvency Law Commentary and Materials 2015 Lawbook Co by Harris, Gronow & Anderson helpful as a resource
    Online Learning
    Materials will be available from MyUni included a number of further readings

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly and often to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the duration of the course.

    MyUni will be used to upload audio recordings of lectures where available and the accompanying powerpoint slides. Assignments will also be available from MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught in one teaching block of 3 hours. during the block there will be both a lecture and then a more tutorial type questions and answers teaching session.

    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lectures Readings Seminars
    1 Introduction, History, Theories SB&L 1, 2 Stigma
    2 Bankruptcy Administration SB&L 2, Additional Material Theories
    3 Process Commencement SB&L 2 AFSA
    4 Consequences SB&L 2, 4 Bankruptcy notices
    5 Powers of investigation SB&L 4 Consequences
    6 Property of Estate SB&L 3 Examinations
    7 Distribution SB&L 4 Identifying property
    8 Bankruptcy Trustee SB&L 2 Priorities
    9 Remuneration SB&L 4 , Additional Material Registering trustees
    10 Voidable transactions SB&L 3 Calculating income contributions
    11 Discharge, Offences SB&L 2, 6 Recovering voidable transactions
    12 Alternatives to Bankruptcy SB&L 5 Parts IX, X
  • 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 Outcomes
    Written Assignment Individual September 11 50% No 3,000words 2,3,6
    Exam Individual November  50% No 90 minutes 1-6
    Assessment Detail
    Written Assignment
    The written assignment will be a Brief to Counsel and draw upon the much litigated area of Bankruptcy Notices. It will require students to work in groups and together they will prepare and submit a high quality piece of writing. The word limit is 3000 words. 

    End of Semester Examination
    The Exam in the November examination period will be 90 minutes. It will cover an aspect of the course.  


    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted in hard copy and electronically through Turnitin. All hardcopy submissions must be accompanied by the Assignment Cover Sheet that sets out the word length, and contains a signed declaration that the assignment consists of the student’s own work. A student’s results will be withheld until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet. Markers can refuse to accept assignments which do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University’s policy on plagiarism.

    Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.


    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% (of the total mark of the assignment) each day (or part thereof) will be deducted for late submission (including weekends and public holidays), (ie an essay graded 63% will have 5 % deducted if it is one day late, for a final mark of 58%, 10% if it is two days, etc).
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc).  Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information.  Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    Turnaround time: The interim assignment for this course will be returned to students within 2 weeks of the submission date. Group feedback, together with written, individual feedback will be provided, from which students can learn from in the final assignment. The final assignment will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with written individual feedback. Students will be notified by email when assignments are ready for collection from the Law School Front Office.

    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.

    Student feedback 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.