A Global View of Business Insolvency Systems

We live in an age of economic turmoil. The recent crises emphasize the need for modern, sophisticated rules to govern businesses in financial distress in order to realize value from distressed companies and to protect economic institutions. Guided by the World Bank’s Principles and Guidelines on International Insolvency, we have assembled, compared and analysed the legal principles and institutions of many different jurisdictions. Our goal is both practical and scholarly. Our work supplements the Legislative Guide of the UN Commission on International Trade Law by providing extensive analysis of the ways in which various legal systems address the issues that arise in insolvency law, including both liquidation and reorganization. It employs many examples of national and international practice in every area of insolvency law. For teachers, those examples can enliven and enrich courses on domestic insolvency law by revealing how similar problems are viewed and resolved in other legal systems.
After introductory discussions of debt collection laws generally, including those governing the grant of security interests or liens, the book discusses each of the central elements of the insolvency process, beginning with discussions of valuation and corporate officer liability, then initiation of an insolvency proceeding and the resulting moratorium on creditor action, and continuing through the treatment of various forms of property and contracts and the voiding of certain transactions that may have preceded the initiation of legal action. Separate chapters work though the particular considerations applicable to cases that seek to preserve distressed businesses, including both formal proceedings and informal “workout” agreements as tools in the reorganization or rescue process. Another chapter addresses the crucial problem of institutional and staffing requirements without which the best law will fail to achieve its goals. Two remaining chapters address other areas of special importance: the treatment of employees and the management of cases involving multinational businesses.

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