The Federal Circuit Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Court of Australia under the Bankruptcy Act 1966. The only exception is the capacity to undertake trials with a jury pursuant to Section 30(3) of the Bankruptcy Act; that power is limited to the Federal Court.

The Federal Circuit Court and the Federal Court have developed harmonised rules for bankruptcy matters. Refer to Federal Circuit Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2016. The Courts have established a committee to monitor the rules and, if necessary, recommend and implement changes. The committee is interested to receive comments on the harmonised rules and suggestions for change.

The Federal Circuit Court has the following general powers in bankruptcy pursuant to Section 30 of the Bankruptcy Act:

Full power to decide all questions, whether of law or of fact, in any case of bankruptcy or any matter under Part VIIII, X or XI coming within the cognisance (power) of the Court.

Make orders (including declaratory orders or orders granting injunctions or other equitable remedies) as the Court considers necessary for the purpose of carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

The Court may direct such inquiries to be made and accounts to be taken for the purpose of any proceeding as the Court considers necessary, and may give special directions as to the manner in which the account is to be taken.

The Court may on application of a Registrar, Official Receiver, Trustee or Inspector General, as the case requires:

  • order a person who has failed to comply with an order, direction, requirement or request to comply with it, or 

  • if it thinks fit, make an immediate order for the committal to prison of that person.

The Court in exercising its jurisdiction can hear and determine in open court the matters set out in section 31(1) of the Bankruptcy Act and may award costs pursuant to section 32 of the Act.

The Federal Circuit Court has power to transfer bankruptcy proceedings to the Federal Court.

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