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Changes to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – what it means for Trustees in Bankruptcy

Understandably the discussion around the changes to the Family Court and Federal Circuit Courts have centred around how it will affect family law proceedings and practitioners. After all, the change is being hailed as the single greatest change to the resolution of the Australian family law system since it was moved to the federal courts in 1975.

But if you’re anything like the insolvency team at Aitken Partners (that is, wholly concerned with insolvency) you may be asking yourself “yeah, but what has changed for bankruptcy?” The answer to that dear reader is best summarised in the immortal words of Edwin Starr: ‘absolutely nothing’. Well, nothing of substance anyway!

So, what is it good for?

Well, there are new forms, and there was a removal of some family law specific rules. Essentially, the relevant rules are slightly less cumbersome. There are obviously some minor structural changes too – the Federal Circuit Court now sits as Division 2 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, and it has specialised lists for general law and bankruptcy, each with its own Rules. Oh, and the name of the rules have changed too; they are now the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) (Bankruptcy) Rules 2021.

Going forward, trustees and lawyers alike are not likely to see much difference. In the main, ensure that you are using the correct forms, and double-check that the rules you are quoting are numbered correctly when dealing with the general federal law.

The Insolvency Team at Aitken Partners is, as always, more than happy to assist you with your enquiries.