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Attendance is compulsory

You must attend the bankruptcy hearing if you are the debtor mentioned in a bankruptcy application, unless you are represented by a lawyer.

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.

What happens if you do not attend

If you filed a bankruptcy application for yourself and you missed the hearing, your application may be adjourned to a later hearing date or dismissed by the court. If the application is dismissed and you still wish to make yourself a bankrupt, you will have to file a fresh application and pay the fees again.

If you are responding to a bankruptcy application made against you and you missed the hearing, a bankruptcy order may be made against you in your absence, unless the creditor asks the court to postpone the hearing instead. You may apply to annul the bankruptcy order if you have valid reasons.

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.

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

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.

What happens at the bankruptcy hearing

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

What happens during a hearing depends on whether the application was made by you or your creditor.

If you are the debtor and you made the application against yourself, the court will ask you what you wish to do. For example, if you wish to obtain a bankruptcy order for yourself, the court may proceed to hear your application and declare you a bankrupt.

You may be considered for the Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS) if you fulfil the criteria.

If the creditor made the application against you, the court will first hear the creditor's reasons for why the bankruptcy order should be made. After that, you get a chance to explain why a bankruptcy order should not be made against you. 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 these decisions:

A bankruptcy order will be made and you will be declared a bankrupt. Find out what happens after you are declared a bankrupt.

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

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

During a bankruptcy hearing, the court will consider whether you qualify 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 you fulfil 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 you are suitable for the DRS. Find out the criteria the court considers before making the order.

After the Official Assignee's assessment

If you are found to be suitable for the DRS, the DRS will start. The court will treat the bankruptcy application as withdrawn. You will have to fulfil your duties as a debtor under the DRS. Find out more about the DRS on the Ministry of Law's website.

If you are found to be unsuitable for the DRS, the court will schedule another hearing for the bankruptcy application. At that hearing, the court may make an order to declare you 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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