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Reasonable Domestic Needs of a Bankrupt and his Family


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If in receipt of an income, a Bankrupt is entitled to retain a sum of money which is necessary to meet the reasonable domestic needs of himself/herself and his/her family. This will include :

  • expenses for accommodation such as rent, utilities charges etc. (provided they are reasonable and commensurate with the needs of the family);
  • food;
  • clothes;
  • education;
  • transportation;
  • expenses for medicine;
  • income tax;
  • MPF contributions as required by law; and
  • any other items which can be considered in the context of a family’s needs as a reasonable domestic expense.

Any surplus income may be required to be paid to the trustee. Under section 43E of the Bankruptcy Ordinance, (Cap. 6), a trustee may apply to court for an income payments order requiring a Bankrupt or a Bankrupt's employer to pay an amount of money out of the Bankrupt's income to the trustee. A Bankrupt is entitled to challenge the application in court. If the trustee does not apply for an income payments order and the Bankrupt is aggrieved by such decision, he/she may apply to the court pursuant to section 83 of the Bankruptcy Ordinance and the court may confirm, reverse or modify the act or decision complained of, and make such order in the premises as the court thinks just.

N.B. The ‘family’ includes a spouse and children of the Bankrupt and it may in certain circumstances also include dependent parents and dependent sibling of the Bankrupt and any other person who is a dependent of the Bankrupt.