Discharge of Bankrupt
Q: When will a bankrupt be discharged from bankruptcy? Is there any minimum period of time?
A: A bankrupt, who has not previously been adjudged bankrupt and conforms to the stipulations and conditions under the Bankruptcy Ordinance, will be automatically discharged four years from the date of the Bankruptcy Order provided that there is no non-commencement order or objection to his/her discharge from the creditors and the Trustee. If he/she has been previously adjudged bankrupt, the period will be five years.
Q: What is non-commencement order?
A: Where a bankruptcy order is made on or after 1 November 2016 and the bankrupt fails to physically attend the initial interview, or has physically attended the initial interview, but failed to provide the trustee at the initial interview with all of the information concerning the bankrupt’s affairs, dealings and property as reasonably required by the provisional trustee/trustee, the provisional trustee/trustee may apply to court for an order that the relevant period shall not commence to run. The effect of the non-commencement order is to delay the commencement of the relevant period of bankruptcy until compliance with the terms of the order. As a result, the date of the automatic discharge will be delayed accordingly.
Q: Where the non-commencement order has been issued by the court, how can the relevant period for bankruptcy be commenced to run?
A: To commence running of the relevant period of bankruptcy, the bankrupt has to contact the provisional trustee/trustee and comply with the terms of the non-commencement order. If the provisional trustee/trustee is satisfied that the bankrupt has complied with the relevant terms, the provisional trustee/trustee shall file a notice with the court to confirm the compliance of the relevant terms. The relevant period of bankruptcy shall commence to run on the date of compliance as stated in the notice.
Q: What are the grounds for the creditors or the Trustee to object to the automatic discharge?
A: The creditors or the Trustee may object on the grounds listed out in Section 30A(4) of the Bankruptcy Ordinance which includes non-cooperation, unsatisfactory conduct, failure to prepare an annual statement of his earnings and acquisition, etc.
Q: What can a bankrupt do when the Trustee or the creditors object to his/her automatic discharge?
A: The bankrupt may file a defence to the court and there will be a hearing.
Q: Is a discharged bankrupt required to settle his debts?
A: When a bankrupt is discharged, the discharge releases him/her from all the provable debts, but not those incurred by fraud, a fine imposed for an offence, damages in respect of personal injuries to any person, etc.