A Public Examination (PE) is a Court-ordered investigation process which can occur in the context of both personal and corporate insolvency. It allows an examiner to obtain more information about the circumstances of the person or the company with respect to the insolvency.
Application for Summons
Whether a PE relates to an insolvent person or company, before a PE may proceed, the eligible person must file an application to the Court for summons of the relevant person/s to be examined.
PE in Bankruptcy
In the personal insolvency space, PEs more commonly occur when:
- a bankrupt has complex financial dealings that require further detailed investigation; or
- some part of the bankrupt’s conduct suggests he or she has attempted to defeat his or her creditors.
The following eligible persons may apply for PE of a bankrupt under section 81 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth):
- a creditor who has or had a debt provable in the bankruptcy;
- the trustee in bankruptcy; or
- the Official Receiver.
PE in Liquidation
In the corporate insolvency realm, PEs occur when further investigations into a company’s financial dealings are required, particularly where:
- the information made available is insufficient or complex, so there is a general need to obtain further information; or
- director or other officers / employees of the company have been uncooperative so it has been difficult to obtain the necessary information.
The following eligible applicants may apply for PE of a company:
- the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC);
- a liquidator or provisional liquidator of the company;
- an administrator of the company;
- an administrator of a deed of company arrangement executed by the company; or
- a person authorised in writing by ASIC.
If you or someone you know has been served with a summons relating to a PE, or requires any advice relating to a PE, our experienced Litigation + Dispute Resolution team can assist.