The Retreat of American Bankruptcy Law
In 2005 the United States adopted provisions constraining the bankruptcy ‘fresh start’ for the first time in its history. This paper describes the experience under the 2005 amendments over the decade since their enactment, including the data reported by empirical studies of their effects. It suggests a reappraisal of the goals of consumer bankruptcy law in the 21st century, including the simplification and reduction of costs that would arise from abandoning the idea that bankruptcy law should be used as a collection device for professional creditors in consumer cases. It discusses various possible approaches for a new reform while emphasising the importance of the continuing role of lawyers and courts in the consumer bankruptcy process.
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