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Attendance is compulsory

Unless you are represented by a lawyer, you must attend the bankruptcy hearing if you are the creditor who applied to make a debtor (someone who owes you money) a bankrupt.

If you do not attend, the court may dismiss your application. You will not be able to make another application against the same debtor for the same debt, unless you obtain the court's leave (permission).

Tip: If you are unable to attend, you must make a request to change the court date, which is subject to the court's approval.

Arriving in court for your hearing

Some court sessions may be conducted virtually. The court will inform you if you do not need to attend court in person. Find out more about virtual court sessions.

If you are asked to attend court physically, you should:

  • Arrive early and register for your hearing.
  • Before you enter the venue for your hearing, confirm your case is heard in the venue. Inform the court officer before entering, if applicable.
  • Dress neatly and decently when attending court.
  • Speak and conduct yourself in a courteous manner.

Register for a bankruptcy hearing

When you arrive at the Supreme Court, you must register via one of the self-service kiosks, known as the Centralised Display Management System (CDMS) kiosks.

After you register, you will receive a queue ticket. Wait for your queue number to be called. When your number is called, proceed to the assigned venue for your hearing.

For more information on the location of the CDMS kiosks and how to register, refer to the following resources:

What happens at your bankruptcy hearing

A registrar in the General Division of the High Court will hear your bankruptcy case.

The court will first hear your reasons for why the bankruptcy order should be made, before giving the debtor a chance to explain why a bankruptcy order should not be made.

The court will then make a decision on the application.

Possible outcomes

The outcomes of a bankruptcy application depends on the court's decision. The court can make one of the following decisions.

The court will issue a bankruptcy order and the debtor will be declared a bankrupt.

As the creditor, you must do the following, depending on who the court appoints as the trustee of the bankruptcy estate:

If the Official Assignee is appointed as the trustee

Serve a sealed copy of the bankruptcy order on the Official Assignee within 7 days after the making of the bankruptcy order.

If a private trustee is appointed as the trustee

Serve a sealed copy of the bankruptcy order on the appointed private trustee and the Official Assignee within 7 days after the making of the bankruptcy order.

The court-appointed trustee will manage the bankrupt's financial affairs. Find out more about what happens if the Official Assignee is appointed as the trustee.

The debtor will not be declared a bankrupt. The case ends.

You may appeal if you are dissatisfied with this order. Find out how to appeal.

During a bankruptcy hearing, the court will consider whether the debtor qualifies for the Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS).

The DRS is a pre-bankruptcy scheme by the Official Assignee. It aims to help eligible debtors with debts not more than $150,000 to avoid bankruptcy through a debt repayment plan.

If the debtor fulfils certain criteria, the court can adjourn the hearing for up to 6 months or such other period as the court may direct for the Official Assignee to assess if the debtor is suitable for the DRS.

After the Official Assignee's assessment

If the debtor is found to be suitable, the DRS will start. The court will treat the bankruptcy application as withdrawn. Find out more about the DRS on the Ministry of Law's website.

If the debtor is found to be unsuitable, the court will schedule another hearing for the bankruptcy application. At that hearing, the court may make an order to declare the debtor a bankrupt.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

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