Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Le Carre on his father's bankruptcy and Carey Street 'the home of bankruptcy'

The Sunday Telegraph's Seven magazine (29/08/10) carried an excellent interview with the absolute king of the spy novel, Mr David Cornwell, aka John Le Carre, this past Sunday. The creator of such brilliant characters as George Smiley (pictured) mentions an interesting piece of information on his father's brush with the insolvency laws. The article states:

"His father, though the relationship was uneasy, was determined his sons would be toffs: Cornwell a barrister, his brother a solicitor...'His big dream was that we would be gents. He enrolled me at Gray's Inn. When he was finally declared bankrupt I found myself in Carey Street, the home of bankruptcy, explaining why I was a director of all these companies that I knew nothing about."

Twenty-two best selling novels later Mr Cornwell only has Carla to fear! Professor David Graham QC acted for Ronnie Cornwell (David Cornwell's father) in his battle to ward off his creditors with a form of composition. When I have spoken to Professor Graham on this period in his life I will post up his thoughts here.

Picture Credit:  http://www.movieforum.com/people/actors/alecguinness/images/tinkertailor.jpg

Friday, 27 August 2010

Draft Insolvency Rules Reform - latest update released

The Insolvency Service (pictured) are seeking views on the draft Insolvency Rules. They have just published their latest update on the rules reform project. The new rules are due to take effect in 2012. Any responses to the consultation are due by January 31, 2011. The update notes:

"Rules Modernisation project update – August 2010 

New Insolvency Rules for 2012 

Insolvency Service Policy Unit has delivered the first two phases of the project to modernise the Insolvency Rules, thanks in no small part to the valuable contributions and feedback received from a wide range of insolvency stakeholders and from the Insolvency Rules Committee. 

We are now preparing a new set of Insolvency Rules for implementation in 2012 and from August 2010 we will commence the roll out, on The Insolvency Service website, of individual draft Parts of those new Rules in a form that also demonstrates the overall proposed structure for the new Insolvency Rules. The intention is to provide users with an early opportunity to review and comment on individual draft Parts as these are prepared. It is hoped that this piecemeal provision of draft Parts will afford users the opportunity to consider and provide feedback on the content. The overall structure proposed for the new Rules may be subject to change as drafting proceeds but we would welcome observations on this too. 

The substantive changes in content to modernise the Rules have already been delivered in April 2009 (new insolvency advertising regime & DRO Rules) and in April 2010 (wider range of modernisation changes, including e-delivery provisions etc). The final phase of Rules modernisation will deliver a new set of Insolvency Rules which will restructure the existing Insolvency Rules 1986 (as amended more than 20 times) and drive consistency across all insolvency procedures. We are planning to make only a very limited number of further changes to the substance of the provisions within the new Insolvency Rules, principally in response to feedback that we receive from our engagement with insolvency users. 

On 23rd July 2010, twenty six external stakeholders from a cross section of interested insolvency users attended an Insolvency Rules Focus Group meeting at the offices of The Insolvency Service. The meeting generated an enthusiastic response from users and a lively debate on the look and feel of the new Rules template. Our thanks go to those who attended and have provided us with preliminary feedback upon the proposals for the new Rules. 

Insolvency Service Policy Unit will continue to engage closely with stakeholders as the project moves forward and we look forward to receiving further feedback from insolvency users. Our timetable towards implementation in 2012 is challenging and would require all user comment on the draft Parts to be received by January 2011. 

Any enquiries regarding the above should be directed towards Neil Ogilvie, Policy Unit, Zone B, Third Floor, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QW; e-mail Neil.Ogilvie@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

Any enquiries regarding the Scottish Rules should be directed towards Steven Chown, Policy Unit, Zone B, Third Floor, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QW; e-mail Steven.Chown@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk"


Picture Credit: http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

New Insolvency Forms from Companies House

Companies House (pictured) have published the new Insolvency Forms that are to accompany the Insolvency Service's reform of the Insolvency Rules. See the new forms here. The changes affect the delivery requirements of some insolvency documents to Companies House from April 6, 2010.

Picture Credit: http://www.7side.co.uk/userImages/companies_house_logo.gif

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Interesting Insolvency Podcasts from CPDcast - free download with bankruptcy blogger code

CPDcast, the largest provider of online CPD for legal professionals in the UK, has an interesting set of podcasts that are pertinent to our subject. These are:



I have spoken to a kind lady over at CPDcast and they have provided a free access code which will allow one free download per blog reader (normal price £45.00). To hear the podcast for free you must go to the website: http://www.cpdcast.com/


Then select the podcast that you would like to listen to for free. When you get to the payment screen they should put in the following voucher code: insolvencyblog2010 


This will discount the price to zero. This voucher code can be used to listen to any one podcast on the CPDcast site and is valid until the end of this calendar year. Happy listening! 

Picture Credit: http://docinthemachine.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/podcast.jpg

Monday, 23 August 2010

More Disorder in the Bankruptcy Courts - arson and bankruptcy

I am grateful to the anonymous commentator on the last post who has drawn my attention to the following story, published in the Cambridge News in July 2010. The story is entitled, "Suspect car blown up at station after arson in court" and is written by Chris Havergal. It is noted that: 

"A courtroom was set alight and a controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect car in four hours of chaos across Cambridge.

The city’s station, where the vehicle had been parked, was evacuated as Army bomb squad experts made the silver Vauxhall Astra involved safe.

Police said a 62-year-old from Waterbeach had been arrested on suspicion of arson and he is still being questioned by officers today.

The drama started shortly before noon in hearing room six of Cambridge County Court on East Road, where bankruptcy cases were being heard.

A man, thought to be a party in a case, took out a flammable liquid, believed to be petrol, and started splashing it on paperwork and furniture before setting them on fire.

The arsonist was confronted by security guard Matthew Clarke, who tackled him and held him for long enough for everyone else in the room to escape.

At the scene, court manager Alex Pether told the News: “He put his life on the line. We’re very grateful.”

...

Crews used a turntable ladder to break a window on an upper floor to help ventilate the building, and the courtroom involved was thought to be seriously damaged by smoke.”

The story makes the RCJ's challenger episode sound positively pedestrian! An experienced IP once told me that they knew of a tale involving an Official Receiver in Norfolk who was (non-fatally) shot by a debtor with a shotgun. I cannot find any newspaper evidence to corroborate - does anyone know of this episode?

Picture Credit: http://www.nicksimonsen.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/building-fire.jpg

Friday, 20 August 2010

Challenging Times in the Bankruptcy Court - the scene of some heated exchanges

The Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard (ES) are both reporting that the Bankruptcy Court at the RCJ (pictured) was the setting for a recent altercation involving a debtor's barrister, Mr Colin Challenger LLB MBA, a tenant at Lamb Chambers. The ES notes:

" A BARRISTER is suing the Met for wrongful arrest after he was led away in handcuffs while he was defending a client at a bankruptcy hearing at the High Court.
Colin Challenger, 65, is seeking £150,000 in damages, claiming he was assaulted and fell into a diabetic coma in his cell after the arresting officer confiscated his insulin medicine.

Mr Challenger says he got caught up in a fracas during an adjournment after a woman was asked to leave the court for shouting abusive accusations at his client in July last year.


Fearing he was about to be attacked, Mr Challenger said he pushed a man through an open door before locking it..."

This is not the first occasion that the Bankruptcy Courts have borne witness to alleged rough and tumble. Mr Registrar Simmonds was knocked to the floor during a bankruptcy hearing in 2002.

Picture Credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_YrPhWhp-AW0/SseBEVbjXNI/AAAAAAAAAqs/Se4mIa8T2Fg/s400/thomas_more001.jpg

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Disqualification of an Insolvency Practitioner

s.3 CDDA 1986 provides for a disqualification order to be made if any person persistently breaches company legislation in falling to file documents with the ROC. It states that being adjudged guilty of three defaults in a five year period is "conclusive proof" that there is sufficient default for an order to be made.


s.4 CDDA 1986 states that a person may be disqualified if they have been guilty, "while an officer or liquidator of the company, receiver of the company's property.... of any breach of duty.." The case of Adbury Park Estates Ltd [2003] BCC 696 makes it clear that the breach of duty must not be a trivial one.


s.16 CDDA 1986 permits the SOS, OR, subsequent liquidator, past or present member or any creditor to bring an application under s.3 or s.4.


Given the effect of a disqualification order, these provisions are a serious threat to an IP that commits either a single serious breach of duty or a series of minor ones. It would appear from the public information available that a regulator would probably issue a fine with costs for the same conduct. Is this right? Why has there been only one reported case of an attempt to disqualify an IP under these sections given the amount of litigation over IP's conduct in the public domain?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Fraudulent Conveyance Legislation - a precursor of Preferences and Transactions at an Undervalue

Early fraudulent conveyance legislation is an interesting area for examination. [1] Bankruptcy and usury were legislative bedfellows throughout the history of our subject. We also find statutes dealing with the fraudulent conveyance of property featuring in the development of our earliest insolvency laws. The first statute introduced in English law to tackle this problem was in 1351 and this perhaps well illustrates Glenn’s contention that, “never yet, so far as human experience goes, has it been proper to legislate in bankruptcy matters without providing for his [fraudulent debtor] case.”[2] Whilst the introduction of bankruptcy as a jurisdiction had to wait for another 192 years, this attendant area’s importance weighed heavy on the minds of those policy makers seeking to foster and improve trade and commerce in England. It must therefore be considered one of the founding areas of insolvency regulation.


During the reign of Edward III, the Black Prince, (pictured)[3] the first statute designed to preclude fraudulent conveyances received royal assent.[4] This act was entitled, "Fraudulent assurances of lands or goods, to deceive creditors, shall be void. cap VI (1376)." A second debt related statute was passed during the reign of Richard II. In 1379 a statute entitled, Fraudulent deeds made by debtors to avoid their creditors, shall be void was enacted. This statute regulated fraudulent conveyances made by debtors within sanctuaries.[6] Any conveyances that were made by debtors who were in a sanctuary were declared void by this statute. Their property could then be executed against by the creditors.

The subject of fraudulent conveyances was revisited during the seventeenth century in a number of readings in the Inns of Courts.[8] It could be argued that fraudulent conveyances are the genesis of regulation that governs transactions at an undervalue and preferences in the modern context,[9] in that they are both later statutory attempts to ensure that dispositions of property in an attempt to spirit value away from the bankruptcy estate do not occur.[10] However, fraudulent conveyances and preferences are different,[11] but the former could be construed as the seed of the later. An early modern case on fraudulent transfers is The Case of the Bankrupts.[12] The judge held in the case that once an act of bankruptcy had been committed all dispositions by the debtor were invalid against he Commissioners in Bankruptcy.[13]



[1] On fraudulent conveyances see: Roberts, WM. A Treatise on the Construction of the Statutes 13 Eliz.c.5 and 27.Eliz. c.4, relating to Voluntary or Fraudulent Conveyances, and on the Nature and Force of different Considerations to support Deeds and other Legal instruments in the Courts of Law and Equity. 8vo. London, 1800. 2nd American Ed, with references to American and English decisions, by a member of the Bar. 8vo. Hartford, 1825. See further: Coull, DC. The Prevention of Fraud prior to bankruptcy – a comparative study. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University of Aberdeen, 1974. 
[2] Glenn Essentials at page 373.
[3] 13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377.
[4] (1351) 25 Edw III, Chp 17.
[6] 2 Rich II. stat.2, c.3, 1379.
[7] Radin, M. Fraudulent Conveyances at Roman Law (1931) 18 Virginia Law Review 109; Radin, M. The Nature of Bankruptcy [1940] University of Pennsylvania Law Review, vol.89, no. I, pages 1 to 38.
[8] See further: Manuscript - Thomas Harris. Reading at Middle Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1588; Manuscript - John Amherst. Reading at Gray’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1670; Manuscript – Thomas Wade. Reading at Gray’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1590; Manuscript – Roger Wilbraham. Reading at Gray’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1598; Manuscript - John Amherst. Reading at Gray’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1670; Manuscript – Francis Bacon. Reading at Gray’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1634; Manuscript – William Brock. Reading at Inner Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1608; Manuscript – Anthony Dyott. Reading at Inner Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1602; Manuscript – William Brock. Reading at Inner Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1608; Manuscript - Henry Hobart. Reading at Lincoln’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1603; Manuscript – George Watt. Reading  on 37. Hen V.III, c.9, usury at Lincoln’s Inn; Manuscript – John Tindal. Reading at Lincoln’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1585; Manuscript – Henry Hobart. Reading at Lincoln’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1603; Manuscript – John More. Reading at Lincoln’s Inn on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1608. Manuscript – Thomas Harris. Reading at Middle Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1588; Manuscript – George Shurley. Reading at Middle Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1616; Manuscript – John Bramston. Reading at Middle Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 27 Eliz I, c.4 fraudulent conveyances. 1623; Manuscript – William Whitaker. Reading at Middle Temple on fraudulent conveyances, 13 Eliz. I, c.5. 1627. Identified in Professor Sir John Baker QC's Seldon Society volume on the Readings in the Inns of Court. 
[9] See IA86, s.238 (transactions at an undervalue) and IA86, s.239 (preferences). On these provisions see: Goode at Chapter 11.
[10] On this historical development of preferences see: Weisberg, R. Commercial Morality, the Merchant Character, and the History of the Voidable Preference (1986) Stanford Law Review 39;1-137. See also: Glenn, G. The Diversities of the Preferential Transfer: A Study in Bankruptcy History (1930) 15 Corn LQ. 521. See also: McCoid , J. Bankruptcy, preferences and efficiency: an expression of debt [1981] 67 Virginia LR 249, at pages 250-253 on the early history of preference regulation.
[11] McCoid, ibid, at page 250.
[12] 76. Eng Rep. 441 (KB. 1584).
[13] For an analysis of this case see: McCoid, ibid, at page 251.

Picture Credit: http://www.paradoxplace.com/Photo%20Pages/UK/Britain_South_and_West/Canterbury_Cathedral/Canterbury_Internal/Images/800/Black-Prince-Jul04-DC4956sAR800.jpg

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Sources on the history of English bankruptcy law.

I thought it might be useful to upload on to the blog a list of historical sources that readers might find interesting. In no particular order:

19th Century
  • Duffy, IPH. English Bankrupts, 1571-1861 (1980) Amer J. Legal Hist 24 283-305
  • Duffy, IPH. Bankruptcy and Insolvency in London during the Industrial Revolution. Garland Publishing, Inc. New York & London. 1985; 
  • Lester, VM. Victorian Insolvency. Clarendon Press, 1995 (the source suggested by Adrian).
  • Graham, David and Tribe, John (2009) Bankruptcy in Crisis - a Regency Saga: Part 4 - Basil Montagu (1770-1851). Insolvency Intelligence, 22(9), pp. 132-140. 
  • Tribe, JP and Graham, D (2007) Bankruptcy in Crisis – A Regency Saga: Part 3 – The Bankruptcy Bar. Insolvency Intelligence (Insol.Int), 20 April, pp. 38-41. 
  • Tribe, JP and Graham, D (2004) Bankruptcy in Crisis – A Regency Saga. Insolvency Intelligence (Insolv.Int) (2004), 17, p. 6. 
  • Tribe, JP and Graham, D (2004) Bankruptcy in Crisis – A Regency Saga: Part 2 – The Busy Bankruptcy Court. Insolvency Intelligence (Insolv.Int), 17, p. 150. 
  • For actual 19th century sources, see:
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1337658


Other sources of interest and in no particular order:
  • Cadwallader, FJJ. In pursuit of the merchant debtor and bankrupt: 1066-1732. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University College London, University of London. June 1965; 
  • Cooke, RM. The Foundations of the Law of Bankruptcy. University of Manchester, LL.M. thesis. 1924; 
  • Coull, DC. The Prevention of Fraud prior to bankruptcy – a comparative study. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University of Aberdeen, 1974; 
  • Servian, MS. Eighteenth Century Bankruptcy Law: From Crime to Process. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Kent at Canterbury, 1985; 
  • Treiman, I. A History of the English Law of Bankruptcy, with Special Reference to the Origins, Continental Sources , and Early Development of the Principal Features of the Law. University of Oxford. Unpublished D.Phil thesis. 1927; 
  • Levinthal, L.E. The Early History of Bankruptcy Law (1918) vol. 66, U. PA. L. Rev. 233; 
  • Levinthal, L.E. The Early History of English Bankruptcy (1919) vol. 67, U. PA. L. Rev. 1; 
  • Treiman, I. Escaping the Creditor in the Middle Ages (1927) 43 LQR 230; 
  • Welbourne, E. Bankruptcy before the era of Victorian Reform (1932-34) Vol,4, p.51; 
  • Glenn, G. Essentials of Bankruptcy: Prevention of Fraud, and Control of Debtor (1937) Virginia Law Review 23; 373-388; 
  • Treiman, I. Acts of bankruptcy: a medieval concept in modern bankruptcy law (1938) 52 Harv. L. Rev 187; 
  • Nadelmann, K.H. Bankruptcy Treatise (1944) 93 U.Pa. L. Rev 58; 
  • Riesenfeld, SA. The Evolution of Modern Bankruptcy Law: A Comparison of the Recent Bankruptcy Acts of Italy and the United States [1947] vol.31, no.5, pp.401-455; 
  • Helmholz, RH. Bankruptcy and Probate jurisdiction before 1571 (1983) Missouri Law Review 48; 415-429; 
  • Weisberg, R. Commercial Morality, the Merchant Character, and the History of the Voidable Preference (1986) Stanford Law Review 39;1-137; 
  • Servian, MS. The influence on, and the influence of a Law Reformer: Basil Montagu, a Founding Father of the Modern Law of Insolvency (1986) IL&P, March/April, 45; 
  • Servian, MS. On the demise of acts of bankruptcy (1988) IL&P, July/August, 117; 
  • Graham, D. ‘Shakespeare in Debt?’ English and International Insolvency in Tudor England: Part 1 (2000) Insolv.Int. 13(5), 36-37; 
  • Graham, D. ‘Shakespeare in Debt?’ English and International Insolvency in Tudor England: Part 2 (2000) Insolv.Int. 13(6), 44-46; 
  • Graham, D. Discovering Jabez Henry: Cross Border Insolvency Law in the 19th Century. (2001) Int.Insolv.Rev, Vol.10:153-166; 
  • Graham, D. The Insolvent Italian Banks of Medieval London (2000) Int.Insolv.Rev, Vol.9(3); 213 – 231; 
  • Graham, D. A Dark and Neglected Subject: Landmarks in the Reform of English Insolvency Law (2002) Int.Insolv.Rev, Vol.11(2); 97-119; 
  • Quilter, M. Daniel Defoe bankrupt and bankruptcy reformer (2004) J.Leg.Hist, 25(1), 53-57; 
  • Tribe, J & Graham, D. Bacon in Debt - The Insolvency Judgments of Francis, Lord Verulam. [2006] IL&P, vol.22(1), 11-16.
Picture Credit: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01390/David-Starkey_1390899c.jpg

Monday, 16 August 2010

Ladies more prudent than men bankruptcy figures reveal according to KPMG

The Daily Telegraph have published an interesting article which highlights work undertaken by KPMG into the gender make up of bankruptcy. Mr Ian Cowie's article is entitled, "Are women more prudent than men?" It is noted that:
"New analysis of official figures from the Ministry of Justice shows that men who lose control of their financial affairs tend to go bankrupt for 60 per cent more than women. Now insolvency experts at accountants KPMG are posing the question; are women more prudent than men?



KPMG measured the divergence in ‘typical’ male and female bankrupts around the country. The most striking difference is the level of liability, with male bankrupts owing around £91,000 while females owe £56,000. The divergence is even more pronounced in particular regions, specifically the South East, which has the largest majority of male bankrupts at 63 per cent owing £100,000, while the remaining 37 per cent are female, owing £73,000.


The research also shows that female bankrupts tend to be slightly younger – by three years on average – but there is a difference of six years in the Midlands where male bankrupts are typically 43, while female bankrupts are 37. Chris Nutting, director of personal insolvency at KPMG, said: “As someone with 40 years of experience of advising people with heavy personal debt burdens it has always been apparent that more men end up in extreme financial difficulties.


“Without being an expert in the differences in the behavioural patterns of men and women, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why men are more likely to get into financial distress and to a greater degree. The data certainly poses interesting questions; such as are women more financially prudent and does this reflect the higher earning potential of men?”


The article is followed by some interesting thoughts in the comments section. The research highlights an interesting trend. However, there are of course exceptions to the rule (pictured).


Picture Credit:  http://photos.upi.com/slideshow/lbox/a9455b1b0d719f82395dc5f69fdce829/SARAH-FERGUSON-VISITS.jpg

Friday, 13 August 2010

The future of personal insolvency law - The Davey Review of Consumer Credit and Personal Insolvency

A while back I mulled on what the future of personal insolvency law might be. This was in the context of Henrik Ibsen's 1890 play "Hedda Gabler" (pictured), and in particular Ejlert Løvborg's second book in that play, as well as the Tory's "Vote for Change" mantra. I thought a blog entry on the future of insolvency law and policy might make an interesting post. This now seems prescient.

I asked what does the future hold for insolvency law and practice? Are we looking at a new Act potentially in 2012? Will the Insolvency Service delay the consolidated rules so as to cause them to come into effect at the same time? I also queried the drivers of policy that might cause the future of our field to develop down any particular line and what might the instruments of that change be? I will address the former first. Elsewhere I have predicted that we might see a "Restructuring Act" in the future, as opposed to an Insolvency Act. Might the 2012 statute appear in this guise? The idea of rescue has now been with us for nearly 25 years. The Enterprise Act 2002 sought to solidify the aims engendered in the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA86). The next statute might go that step further and engender the rescue ethos in the statute's title as well as its provisions. The IA86 title does not reflect its contents either, for example, the provisions on solvent liquidation are contained in an Insolvency Act. Does this make sense?


Why was this discussion prescient? Well, Mr Ed Davey MP has recently announced a fundamental review of both consumer credit  and personal insolvency. This of course only relates to our subject on the personal side, and some of the comments made above are of no relevance. The press release is however of deep significance as it signals the starting gun for what might be a fundamental re-think of our personal insolvency laws. The press release notes:


"Consumer Affairs Minister Edward Davey has announced that a review of consumer credit and personal insolvency will be undertaken by the Government.



The Minister met with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Debt and Personal Finance, where he announced the review. It will be conducted jointly with Mark Hoban, the Treasury’s Financial Secretary, and will cover a number of areas, including:
· How consumers enter into credit commitments, including the way in which credit is sold and the extent to which consumers understand what they are committing to;
· What issues arise during the lifetime of a loan from both the consumer and the lender perspectives; and
· What happens if things go wrong; are the current insolvency solutions fit for purpose?



The review will be an opportunity for all stakeholders to provide evidence on what is working well, and where the Government can intervene to relieve pressures in the system. It is an opportunity to reshape consumer credit policy and will lead to a full consultation later this year, or early next year.



Edward Davey said:

“This is an opportunity not only to improve the safeguards on consumer credit products, where this is necessary. It’s also a chance to cut unnecessary regulatory burdens, which increase costs and stifle competition.



“As Consumer Affairs Minister, I want to be sure that people can get fair deals on credit cards, loans and other products on the market - improving access for the financially excluded; having an insolvency regime where those who can, pay, but those who can’t are helped to make a fresh start; and ensuring a regulatory framework that’s fair to consumers and creditors alike.”


The Call for Evidence will be issued after the summer recess, which should lead to a consultation on specific proposals later this year or early 2011."


Will bankruptcy as a regime diminish in importance as Judge Mithani QC has recently suggested? Will other procedures, such as the relatively new DRO regime gain the whip hand? Will pre-packs ever escape the taint of phoenixism? These questions and more will continue to challenge us over the coming months and this review is a timely interjection into personal insolvency law and policy. One might ask - Why is the review reserved to the personal side? At a recent Insolvency Service meeting Mr Nick Howard joked with Professor Sir Roy Goode QC that the learned professor was bidding for the chairmanship of a new Cork committee. Did Mr Howard have something in mind even at that stage?
 
Please post your suggestions for improvements in the personal insolvency law regime in the comments boxe below. One learned friend has already suggested to me that he thinks we might do an Australia and go back up to three years before automatic discharge is granted. There may be a wager in that!  
 
Picture Credit: http://ellietreagust.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/hedda_gabler.jpg
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