Examinable affairs

In the context of bankruptcy and company liquidation, examinable affairs refer to the matters, files, assets, moneys, records, and other information that a trustee in bankruptcy can investigate in order to gather divisible assets and repay creditors. The power of a trustee in bankruptcy to investigate these examinable affairs is derived from section 19AA of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) (the Act) and is necessary primarily where the bankrupt or insolvent may have acted, or is continuing to act in a fraudulent or deceptive manner in relation to their remaining assets.

The legal definition of examinable affairs is found in section 5 of the Act, and defines them as affairs in relation to a person that include:

(a) the person’s dealings, transactions, property and affairs; and

(b) the financial affairs of an associated entity of the person, in so far as they are, or appear to be, relevant to the person or to any of his or her conduct, dealings, transactions, property and affairs.

Associated entity is further defined to mean:

(a) an entity (other than a company) that is, or has been, associated with the person; or

(b) a company that is, or has been, associated with the person at a time when the company is, or was, as the case may be, a private company.

As empowered by the Bankruptcy Act, the trustee in bankruptcy has the capacity to make widespread inquiries into many parties in order to satisfy their bankruptcy investigation.