Guide to ages of insolvent debtors

Read more about ages of insolvent debtors.

Introduction

This is an annual publication on the age of insolvent debtors at the time of their insolvency. It replaces information previously reported in our biennial publication, Profiles of Debtors. This facilitates more timely information and analysis.

Data collection

Every debtor is required to lodge a completed statement of affairs with us. There are questions about the socioeconomic characteristics of the debtor on this form. We compile our statistics from this information.

When a bankruptcy is the result of a sequestration order, there may be a delay before the bankrupt lodges a statement of affairs. The sequestration order does not report on most of the socioeconomic characteristics of the bankrupt. When this occurs, we report the record as not stated. We update our records when the bankrupt lodges his or her statement of affairs form. We do not revise our statistics with this updated data. Bankruptcies resulting from sequestration orders accounted for 11% of bankruptcies in 2013–14.

Age of debtors

Debtors must supply their date of birth on the statement of affairs. We calculate the age of debtors using date of birth from the statement of affairs and the date that their personal insolvency commenced.

Insolvent debtors are usually aged 18 years and over. The Bankruptcy Act does not specify a minimum age for a person to become bankrupt, enter into a debt agreement or personal insolvency agreement. The law governing legal capacity to contract with another person on the basis of age varies according to the jurisdiction. While both the common law and statute operate to restrict the capacity of minors to contract there will be circumstances when a contract to repay a debt made by a minor will be binding from the outset (eg. see the Minors (Property and Contracts) Act 1970 (NSW).

Between 2008 and 2014, six people who were aged 17 years became bankrupt. No people aged less than 17 years have become bankrupt since 2008.

Comparison with other datasets

Statistics on personal insolvencies can count the number of administrations or the number of people. When an insolvency proceeding involves two or more partners, it is counted as one administration. Statistics based on the number of people are likely to be higher than statistics based on the number of administrations.

We report on the ages of debtors based on the number of people.

Because we record personal insolvency activity on a live system, our information is subject to change. Our publications are correct as at the time of compilation.

Data quality

We take great care to ensure that the personal insolvency statistics are correct and accurate at the time of compilation.

Information continues to be processed and stored in our systems after we release our statistics, however we do not revise these statistics. Delays in the receipt, processing and administration of personal insolvencies may affect our statistics.

Revisions

We do not revise our statistics unless we identify an error. From time to time, we may enhance our reporting. Our guides and other explanatory materials advise of the changes and the impacts on the data.