Are Bankruptcy Filings Public Records?

If you’re struggling to repay your outstanding financial obligations, you might be considering bankruptcy as a debt solution. But you’re probably wondering if anyone is able to find out about it.

Do you know what information is put on record for bankruptcy filings, and who can access those records?

Read on to learn exactly what happens with your information when you file for bankruptcy.

Is My Bankruptcy File a Public Record?

The short answer is yes. Bankruptcy filings are kept on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII), which is held by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).

AFSA has exhaustive records of all current and ex-bankrupts dating back to 1928.

Are bankruptcy filings public records - Filing system

What Information is Public?

Along with your name, some other information may appear on the register. This includes your date of birth, previous names and aliases (if known), your residential address and the occupation you disclose on your application.

The file will also include the type of proceeding (ie that it is a bankruptcy file), the bankruptcy start date and administration number. It will show the current status of your proceeding, that is, whether you are discharged from bankruptcy, and it will list the name and contact details of the administrator or trustee of the proceeding.

Who Can Access my Bankruptcy Records?

Anyone is able to conduct a search after paying a $15 fee, and access personal bankruptcy information.

The NPII is available on the Australian Financial Security Authority’s website, and includes search tips and results.

You can search via the name (surname and given name(s) and/or date of birth of an individual, or via the administration reference number. You then choose whether you want to receive either an extract (details of a person’s bankruptcy) or a result report (a list of people who match your search criteria, if any). You are able to then download and save this information for your own reference.

The Potential Impact of Bankruptcy Records

The register is a permanent record of everyone who has become bankrupt, even long after they have been discharged from their bankruptcy proceeding.

Some of the potential effects that these public records may have on an individual who has filed for bankruptcy include:

  • A lack of a true “fresh start” because your financial history is publicly available
  • Any person, with any motive, can find this information and use it against ex-bankrupts
  • You will have significant difficulties obtaining credit for a considerable amount of time
  • It may limit your future employment opportunities.

While this information should be a consideration when filing for bankruptcy, it may be the case that bankruptcy is the only available means of finding debt relief after exhausting all other options.

If you are unsure whether declaring bankruptcy is in fact the best debt solution for your financial situation, it can be helpful to seek free financial advice from a debt solution provider. As all financial circumstances are unique, a financial expert can assess your debt and provide you with the most appropriate debt solution, including applying for bankruptcy where necessary.


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