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Bankruptcy Law Research  

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Last Updated: Aug 5, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Bankruptcy Resources

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Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Court System

Promulgated by federal law, there are three main forms of bankruptcy relief, known as Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy ("liquidation"), an appointed trustee liquidates the non-exempt property of the debtor and distributes it among the creditors. Then the debt is discharged, meaning the debtor is relived of personal liability.

The U.S. bankruptcy court system provides for the settlement of debt before a specialized federal tribunal. The trial court level is made up of Bankruptcy Courts in geographical districts such as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. In many circuits, the first level of appeal is the federal district court for that district, but in the 1st, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th Circuits, the appellant also has the option of taking the matter to a Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. The second level of appeal is the appropriate Circuit Court of Appeals, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Federal Sources of Primary Law:

  • US Code Title 11 - Bankruptcy
    Includes Chapters 7, 11 and 13 mentioned above.
  • Code of Federal Regulations (17 CFR 190)
    Federal regulations on bankruptcy.
  • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
    The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure govern procedures for bankruptcy proceedings. For many years, such proceedings were governed by the General Orders and Forms in Bankruptcy promulgated by the Supreme Court. By order dated April 24, 1973, effective October 1, 1973, the Supreme Court prescribed, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2075, the Bankruptcy Rules and Official Bankruptcy Forms, which abrogated previous rules and forms. Over the years, the Bankruptcy Rules and Official Forms have been amended many times, most recently in 2015.

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