The Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill (the "Bill") was gazetted in March 1996, which is now being further examined by the Bills Committee before it is submitted to the Legislative Council for final reading.

Major changes proposed by the Bill include :

1. The concept of "acts of bankruptcy" that enables a creditor to commence a petition for bankruptcy will be abolished. It will be replaced by a principle of a statutory demand for payment in specified circumstances followed by a failure to make such payment for a period of three weeks.

2. The concept of "compositions" and "schemes of arrangement" will be replaced with a new "voluntary arrangement" approved by the creditors which shall put greater responsibility on the debtor.

3. The two-stage process of a receiving order followed by an adjudication order will be consolidated into a single bankruptcy order made by the court.

4. A new form of "automatic discharge" from bankruptcy will be implemented. Provided certain conditions are satisfied, the bankruptcy may be discharged three years to five years after the date of the bankruptcy order.

5. The bankrupt's estate is to be expanded to include additional property and income.

6. The trustee of the bankrupt's estate shall be empowered to challenge schemes that are designed to confer a benefit on some person at that expense of the bankrupt's creditors, i.e. transactions at an undervalue and unfair preference which replace the narrower concept of fraudulent preference.

NOTE. The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances if you would like further advice please contact:-

David Ellis
Johnson Stokes & Master
16th Floor, Prince's Building
10 Chater Road
Hong Kong

Telephone No:     2843 4226
Fax No:           2845 9121
E Mail address :  daellis @