People commonly confuse the roles of administrators and liquidators in assisting companies which have encountered financial difficulty. Below, we provide an overview of the functions administrators perform.

What is the Purpose of an Administrator?

Companies in financial distress appoint administrators to develop and implement a restructuring plan with creditors called a deed of company arrangement, or to sell assets by appointing a liquidator.

During administration, creditors cannot make claims against the company unless allowed by the courts.

When appointed, administrators have control over a company and exercise the powers that directors ordinarily have over a company. The administrator has legal title over the company’s property and effectively acts as its agent.

An administrator’s primary concern is the company’s creditors, not the shareholders. He or she controls and carries on the business and manages the company’s property and affairs to help creditors determine its fate.

What is the Administrator’s Role as Opposed to a Liquidator?

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) sets out an administrator’s functions and duties. The administrator:

  1. Controls the company’s business, property and affairs; and
  2. May carry on the business; and
  3. May terminate or dispose of all or part of the business/property; and
  4. May perform any function/exercise any power the company or its officers could perform if the company were not under administration; and
  5. May investigate the company’s business, property, affairs and financial circumstances.

An administrator must also form an opinion about each of the following:

  1. Whether it would be in the creditors’ interests for the company to execute a deed of company arrangement;
  2. Whether it would be in the creditors’ interests for the administration to end;
  3. Whether it would be in the creditors’ interests to wind up the company.

A liquidator’s role differs from an administrator. A liquidator:

  1. Winds up the company’s affairs;
  2. Distributes the company’s assets among its creditors equitably; and
  3. Examines the circumstances prior to the liquidation and the causes of the company’s failure and consider whether further inquiry is necessary.

Who can be an Administrator?

An administrator must be a person who is a registered liquidator. Anyone substantially involved in the company cannot be a liquidator including:

  • Creditors of the company (over $5,000), or
  • Company directors or employees, or
  • An auditor of the company.

These individuals are not appointed as administrators to ensure the administrator’s independence and to mitigate any conflicts of interests arising when acting in the best interests of all creditors.

An administrator providing advice to a company’s directors about their personal liability regarding their role as directors before the administration may preclude them from acting as an administrator. This is because the administrator’s independence may have been compromised.


If you are considering appointing an administrator to your company or considering winding-up your company, LegalVision’s experienced insolvency team can provide you with legal advice.

Questions? Please get in touch with our Client Care team on 1300 544 755.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy