Cross-border Court-to-Court Cooperation in Insolvency Cases Enters Next Phase
Increasingly courts all over the world are involved in cross-border insolvency cases. These courts may be guided by the EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Principles and Guidelines.
In 2013 the Turnaround, Rescue and Insolvency research group of Leiden Law School embarked on a large project, developing EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Principles and Guidelines. In March 2014 the First Public Draft was published. These (non-binding) EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Principles and Guidelines have been developed for application in furtherance of cross-border communication and cooperation in insolvency cases between courts in the European Union. Its result should ensure as far as possible that the EU Insolvency Regulation works in practice, to efficiently and effectively deal with a debtor’s estate, fit the current environment where solutions have been developed based on models reflecting cooperation and communication (such as in the global insolvency case of Lehman Brothers), as well as ensure to the best possible extent the organisation and conduct of a fair legal process, with a fair representation of stakeholders concerned in insolvency processes. The project (‘the JudgeCo-project’) is based on earlier initiatives.
As to the background of the project: the creation of the EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Principles and Guidelines is part of a larger EU initiative called ‘European Cross-Border Insolvency: Promoting Judicial Cooperation’. The project, jointly developed by Leiden Law School and Nottingham Law School, is funded by the European Commission and the International Insolvency Institute (III). Within the JudgeCo-project developments in judicial cooperation in insolvency principles in general and, specifically, in court-to-court communication and coordination matters have been analysed. The need for the results of the project within the context of the European Union is clear: the December 2012 proposal of the European Commission for an amendment of the Insolvency Regulation emphasised court-to-court cooperation and called for a more concrete approach to judicial cross-border cooperation. The JudgeCo project started in early 2013. In its first nine months a text was drafted based on the results of two surveys which were sent out to a representative Review & Advisory Group of over forty experts – insolvency judges, senior insolvency court representatives, insolvency lawyers/trustees/practitioners and academics – located in the majority of EU Member States and some five non-EU jurisdictions. Based on further analysis and discussion between October 2013 and March 2014, three successive draft-texts have been reviewed by the Review & Advisory Group. Professor Bob Wessels of Leiden Law School served as the principle drafter. In mid March 2014, the EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Principles and Guidelines were presented in the form of a first public draft, accessible for the general public, welcoming any observations, comments or criticism of its text. In these documents, the EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Principles are 26 in number, contained in a document of (at present) some 65 pages. The Guidelines contain 18 Guidelines; in all, a document of some 25 pages.
We look forward to any observations, comments and criticism from interested organisations and professionals before the end of April 2014. Taking into account these comments, we aim to deliver a Final Public Draft of the JudgeCo Principles and the JudgeCo Guidelines by the end of May 2014. Readers of the Leiden Law Blog are invited to send their comments prior to 15 May 2014. Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last stage in the JudgeCo project, that runs till the end of 2014, focuses on a one and a half day training for around 60 judges, organised by Professor Paul Omar (Nottingham Law School) with the assistance of two Leiden Law School lecturers. Judges, working in all Member States in Europe, will be invited to express their interest in following the training sessions (three such sessions will take place in three different locations within Europe from about September to December 2014), the costs of which are for a large part covered by the available budget. If you are interested or would like to refer judges to take part in the training, please send your suggestions to email@example.com.