Last week, in Singapore, 11 insolvency judges from 8 jurisductions met in Singapore for the inaugural Judicial Insolvency Network (‘JIN’). JIN, as a network of insolvency judges from around the world, aims to encourage communication and cooperation amongst national courts by pulling together the best practices in cross-border restructuring and insolvency to facilitate cross-court communication and cooperation, which has become critical in today’s increasingly globalised economy.
During the conference exchange of views took place with the idea of developing a set of guidelines conducive for communication and cooperation in cross-border restructuring and insolvency. These Guidelines will provide a framework for parties in cross-border restructuring and insolvency to customise protocols to facilitate court-to-court communication and cooperation in each case.
The Supreme Court of Singapore hosted the conference, with as participants and observers: Australia (Federal Court and New South Wales), the British Virgin Islands, Canada (Ontario), the Cayman Islands, England & Wales, Hong Kong SAR and the United States (Delaware and Southern District of New York). Judicial Commissioner Aedit Abdullah and Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh represent the Singapore judiciary in developing this initiative. A few weeks earlier, Mr Ramesh gave an interesting presentation during an insolvency regulatiors’ conference, called ‘Cross-Border Insolvencies: A New Paradigm’, see www.supremecourt.gov.sg/news/speeches.
I note that he refers positively to my book International Insolvency Law Part I: Global Perspectives on Cross-Border Insolvency Law (2015). In their efforts, JIN may find inspiration for the so called EU JudgeCo Principles of 2015, which include principles on cross-border insolvency case management of courts and the equal treatment of creditors and principles about the judicial decisions itself, on its reasoning and for instance on providing a stay or moratorium. Several principles relate to the course of the proceedings, such as notifications and authentication of documents, and principles on the outcome of judicial cooperation, for instance cross-border sales, assistance to a reorganisation or rules for binding creditors to an international reorganisation plan.
The 26 EU JudgeCo Principles are accompanied by 18 EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Communications Guidelines (‘EU JudgeCo Guidelines’), a set of very practical guidelines to facilitate communications in individual cross-border cases. The EU JudgeCo Principles and Guidelines will strengthen efficient and effective communication between courts in EU Member States in insolvency cases with cross-border effects. They have been produced by a team of scholars of Leiden Law School and Nottingham Law School in a period of two years (2013-2014) in collaboration with some fifty experts, including 25 judges representing just as many different countries.
The EU JudgeCo Principles try to overcome present obstacles for courts in EU Member States such as formalistic and detailed national procedural law, concerns about a judge’s impartiality, uneasiness with the use of certain legal concepts and terms, and, evidently language. The texts further build on existing experience and tested resources, especially in cross border cases in North America, but are structurally set into an EU insolvency law context.