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What is bankruptcy

In Singapore, bankruptcy is a legal process involving an individual or firm that is unable to repay any outstanding debt of at least $15,000.

The General Division of the High Court is the only court that hears bankruptcy applications.

Once an individual or firm is declared a bankrupt, their property will be vested in a court-appointed trustee, who will manage the bankrupt's financial affairs.

You can file a bankruptcy application for yourself (for the court to declare yourself a bankrupt), or against another party who owes you money.

Who is involved in a bankruptcy case

A debtor is a party who owes a sum of money to another party, called the creditor.

Either the debtor or the creditor can file a bankruptcy application. In both cases, the court will make a bankruptcy order against the debtor if the application succeeds.

The Official Assignee is a public servant who may be appointed by the court as the trustee of a bankruptcy estate. This involves managing the bankrupt's financial affairs, which may include selling the bankrupt's assets and distributing the proceeds to the bankrupt's creditors to assist with the settlement of the bankrupt's debt. The Official Assignee is assisted by the officers at the Ministry of Law's Insolvency Office. Find out more about the Official Assignee.

Alternatively, the court may appoint a private trustee to manage a bankrupt's financial affairs in either of these scenarios:

  • If the creditor is an institutional creditor. This includes banks, finance companies regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or companies with an annual sales turnover of more than $100 million and more than 200 employees.
  • If the creditor who filed the application requests for a private trustee.

The private trustee has the same duties as the Official Assignee.

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