Law reform in the field of insolvency and restructuring law has been an issue for decades. The aftermath of the current pandemic will probably further accelerate legislative action in many jurisdictions. Oxford University Press recently has published the edited volume based on the European Law Institute’s (ELI) project ‘Rescue of Business in Insolvency Law’. The project ran from 2013 to 2017 under the auspices of the ELI. It was conducted by professor Stephan Madaus (Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg) and myself (emeritus University of Leiden). We were assisted by Gert-Jan Boon (University of Leiden) and around forty European advisors and correspondents. Results of the project have been an inspiration for both EU and national legislators.
We believe that reform projects benefit from ideas and best practices established in other jurisdictions. In the volume we discuss the design of basic elements of a legal framework that will enable the further development of coherent and functional rules for business rescue in Europe. The topics addressed in the full report cover a variety of themes affected by the rescue of financially distressed businesses, including their most important actors (insolvency practitioners, turnaround managers, corporate restructuring officers, mediators and courts). The analysis led to a set of 115 recommendations which are intended to enable an improved set of insolvency and restructuring rules across the EU, developed in the spirit of providing a coherent, dynamic, flexible and responsive European legislative framework for business rescue.
We argue that it is the right time to reflect everyone’s understanding of the modern, rather instrumental role many procedures in insolvency and restructuring laws play in facilitating a useful, debtor-initiated rescue. This position clearly contrasts the traditional role of an insolvency proceeding as a creditor-initiated collection and liquidation tool that needs to work efficiently as an exit option. The development of restructuring law has not simply transformed insolvency law; it should be recognised and further developed as a separate field of law, transcending traditional insolvency law, governed by its very own principles, functions and requirements.
For an announcement of the publication of the book, see https://bobwessels.nl/blog/20220-06-doc2-publication-of-book-on-rescue-of-business-in-europe/. In September 2020 the official handing over of the book took place, by prof. Christiane Wendehorst, president of ELI, to professor Ignacio Tirado, Secretary-General of UNIDROIT in Rome, for the occassion in his capacity as professor of corporate law and insolvency law at the Autonoma University in Madrid. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fo5C6l5UHg&feature=youtu.be.