LAW 7182 - Personal Bankruptcy Law and Practice (PG)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

Personal bankruptcy in the Australian context is administered by accountants who have been registered as trustees. The Bankruptcy Act is a federal statute that governs all aspects of bankruptcy practice. Lawyers are engaged by the debtor/bankrupt, creditors, government and trustees to advise and represent all these parties on matters arising under the Bankruptcy Act. The course provides an in depth study of the history, administration, duties and powers of trustees, the commencement of personal insolvency, the impact, income and after-acquired property, recovery of assets, offences, examinations and investigations, closing of personal insolvency including discharge, alternative to formal bankruptcy, cross-border and international aspects.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7182
    Course Personal Bankruptcy Law and Practice (PG)
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact On-line Teaching for the equivalent of 2 days and then an intensive across 2 days
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Prerequisites LAW 7115
    Assessment Class Presentation, Summary Paper, Research Paper
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Christopher Symes

    Professor (Dr) Christopher Symes
    Room: 223 Ligertwood
    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, economic and social aspects of the practise of personal bankruptcy law
    2. Explain, analyse and solve practical issues and problems associated with the personal insolvency law
    3. Evaluate selected Australian personal insolvency law issues in the global context
    4. Gain awareness of international developments in selected personal insolvency law issues
    5. Develop critical thinking using personal 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 & Duns Australian Insolvency Law 3rd ed (2015) 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 9th ed (2016) by Murray and Harris - Australia.

    Access to current legislation 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) . 

    Other key relevant general texts are:

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


    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

    On-line sites that are important include

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

    For example see:

    Large insolvency practices will have webpages

    For example see:
    BRI Ferrier

    Online Learning
    This course will be delivered on-line.
    There are numerous lectures, webinars and directed readings delivered using the on-line platform Canvas, as well as Zoom for webinars (joining instructions will be given)
  • 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, webinars, lectures online, and research guidance via webinar and email.

    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 10 hours of private study in addition to your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Module  Topic
    1 History, Administration
    2 Duties and powers of trustees
    3 Commencement, impact, income contributions, after acquired property 
    4 Recovery of assets
    5 Offences, Examinations and investigations
    6 Closing, discharge, annulments
    7 Alternatives Parts IX, X
    8 Cross border and international aspects
  • 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 Learning Outcome
    Quiz Individual 14/5/18 5% No 1,2
    Case comment Individual 21/5/18 30% No 1-6
    Research essay Individual 12/6/18 60% No 1-6
    Participation Individual 12/6/18 5% No 2,4,5
    Assessment Detail
    Participation  – 5%
    Participation will be assessed in terms of attendance at webinars, and quality of contributons to webinar and discussion board discussion. Further details of criteria for participation will be made available at the start of the course and on MyUni course site.

    Quiz- 5%- Monday 14 May
    A quiz of 10 questions in multiple choice form to assess fundamental concepts and terminology learned in the first two modules.

    Case Analysis- 30% Due date Monday 21st May
    Students may choose an insolvency law case from readings or otherwise and write a note and critical analysis about the relevance and context of the case.

    Word limit: 2000 words

    Research Assignment - 60% Due Date 12th June
    Word limit: 6000 words.

    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.

    Due Date: Tuesday 12th June, 2 pm.

    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.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    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 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.