As a legal concept, administration is a procedure under the insolvency laws of a number of common law jurisdictions. It functions as a rescue mechanism for insolvent entities and allows them to carry on running their business. The process – an alternative to liquidation – is often known as going into administration. A company in administration is operated by the administrator (as interim chief executive) on behalf of the creditors as a going concern while options are sought short of liquidation. These options include recapitalising the business, selling the business to new owners, or demerging it into elements that can be sold and closing the remainder.
Administration differs from receivership in that it is usually carried out by a judicial authority, whereas receivership is called in by the bank or creditors involved.
In Australia there are two related processes: voluntary administration and deeds of company arrangement which are also supervised by an administrator.