Bankruptcy Proceedings

Impact of COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 on bankruptcy and winding up applications

Part 3 of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 has introduced modifications to the Bankruptcy Act, Companies Act and the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 having an impact on bankruptcy and winding up applications, applicable for up to 6 months from 20 April 2020 (subject any extension therefrom).

More information is available at

You may also wish to refer to the FAQs at

What are Bankruptcy Proceedings?

Bankruptcy proceedings are commenced by way of the filing of a Bankruptcy Application to the High Court. A Bankruptcy Application can be filed by the debtor himself or a creditor who is owed not less than S$15,000.00 by a debtor.

Debtor's Bankruptcy Application

A debtor (who is an individual) may file an application to make himself a bankrupt. A statement of affairs must be filed together with the Bankruptcy Application. If a partnership firm wishes to take out a Bankruptcy Application, the application must be presented jointly by all the partners of the firm or by a majority of such partners who are residing in Singapore at the time of the making of the application. 

Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS) 

The Bankruptcy Act (Cap 20 2009 Rev Ed) was amended in 2009 to provide for the Debt Repayment Scheme (“DRS”). The new provisions are applicable to all bankruptcy applications filed on or after 18 May 2009.

For more information about DRS, please visit the Internet website of the Ministry of Law here.

Downloadable Forms for the Use of Debtors

Pursuant to Rule 2A of the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Rules 2016, please note that forms for the following documents can be downloaded from the Internet website of the Ministry of Law. Please click here

  1. Supporting Affidavit (DRS applies)
  2. Debtor's Bankruptcy Application
  3. Affidavit Verifying Statement of Affairs 
  4. Statement of Affairs
  5. Supporting Affidavit (DRS does not apply)

Creditor's Bankruptcy Application

A creditor may only file a Bankruptcy Application against a debtor if, amongst other things, the debt owed is not less than S$15,000 and the debtor is unable to pay the debt. Under the law, a debtor is presumed to be unable to pay a debt if he does not comply with or apply to set aside a Statutory Demand. After a Statutory Demand demanding payment is served on a debtor; and the debtor:

(a) does not make payment within 21 days; or 

(b) does not apply to the Court within 14 days (or 21 days, if the Statutory Demand was served on the debtor outside jurisdiction) to set aside the Statutory Demand,

 the creditor may proceed to file a creditor’s Bankruptcy Application against the debtor.

 Setting Aside a Statutory Demand

If a debtor wishes to set aside the Statutory Demand served on him, an Originating Summons must be filed within 14 days (or if the Statutory Demand was served outside Singapore, within 21 days) from the date of service of the Statutory Demand. In the Affidavit filed in support of the Originating Summons, the debtor can:

  1. state reasons for not admitting the debt;
  2. admit the debt, but state reasons why it is not immediately payable;
  3. admit the debt and offer to secure or compound it to the creditor’s satisfaction;
  4. inform the Court that the debt is a secured debt and provide full details of the security and its value;
  5. present a counterclaim or cross-demand;
  6. (where the debt arises from a judgment) prove that execution on the judgment of the Court has been stayed;
  7. state reasons why the statutory demand does not comply with the Bankruptcy Rules; and/or
  8. state any other grounds or reasons why the statutory demand should be set aside.

Voluntary Arrangement

A debtor may make voluntary arrangements to persuade his creditors to refrain from resorting to bankruptcy proceedings, and encourage settlement of debts wherever possible. If the debtor intends to propose a voluntary arrangement to the creditor, the debtor must first file an application for an interim order to stop all further proceedings against him. The application is to be accompanied by a proposal containing information of all the assets and liabilities of the debtor and how the debtor proposes to settle the debts. The proposal must provide for a nominee who will be appointed to supervise the implementation of the proposed voluntary arrangement. The nominee must be a registered public accountant, an advocate and solicitor or a person gazetted by the Minister who consents to being appointed as a nominee.

If the creditors approve the proposed voluntary arrangement and if the debtor fulfils his obligations under the voluntary arrangement, the debt is considered settled. If the debtor fails to comply with the voluntary arrangement, the nominee or any of the creditors may file a Bankruptcy Application against the debtor.

Opposing a Creditor's Bankruptcy Application

A debtor can also oppose the creditor’s Bankruptcy Application by filing a Notice of Objections specifying his/her objections not later than 3 days before the scheduled hearing date of the Bankruptcy Application. The Notice is to be served on the creditor and the Official Assignee.

Bankruptcy Order

The hearing of a Bankruptcy Application is fixed approximately 4 to 6 weeks from the date of filing of the Bankruptcy Application. After a Bankruptcy Order has been made against a person, notification will be published in the Government Gazette, and the Official Assignee or a private trustee in bankruptcy appointed by the Court will then administer the bankrupt’s affairs in bankruptcy. The Official Assignee or the private trustee in bankruptcy will contact the bankrupt for him or her to come to their office for a briefing.

Once a person is made a bankrupt, he or she is subject to many disqualifications and disabilities such as prohibition from overseas travel and starting court actions, and disqualification from appointment as a trustee or personal representative, amongst others.

The Court Fees payable for the filing of documents in respect of Bankruptcy Proceedings may be found in the Bankruptcy (Fees) Rules.

Registering for Bankruptcy Hearings

With effect from 1 Nov 2018, Parties attending bankruptcy hearings at the Supreme Court, including debtors-in-person, are required to register for their cases using the Centralised Display Management Kiosks (CDMS). Click here for more information.