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Bankruptcy Law Research

Introduction and guide to bankruptcy research at Boston College Law School

Bankruptcy Law: Background

Bankruptcy Basics  Text and video material prepared by the U.S. courts to educate users on the bankruptcy process.
Title 11: Bankruptcy Code 

Access Title 11 of the U.S. Code using the free government website created by the Office of Law Revision Counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Recent amendments to the Bankruptcy Code: The Office of Law Revision Counsel maintains classification tables to indicate which chapters of the U.S. Code have been amended in the current and previous Congresses. This is a helpful way to check quickly for changes to Title 11, etc.

The American Bankruptcy Institute website provides access to Bankruptcy Code and related Code titles. 

Bankruptcy Rules 

On December 1, 2021, new Bankruptcy Court Rules became effective. 

Bankruptcy practice and research requires familiarity with the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Local Rules, which can best be located by checking the individual court's website,  and  any chambers procedures maintained by individual bankruptcy judges. See an example of chambers procedures here.  Bankruptcy rules are not static and both rules and forms are subject to change. Changes under discussion can be located here.

Practitioners may also need to reference Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence.

The American Bankruptcy Institute provides access to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. as well as the Local Rules.

 

Bankruptcy Forms The official bankruptcy forms are posted on the U.S. Courts website. Pending changes in bankruptcy forms can be found here

 

Bankruptcy Case Law

The United States Bankruptcy Courts handle bankruptcy filings. Parties can file an appeal from a bankruptcy court decision in the federal district court; some federal circuits have a Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAPs exist only in the First, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits) as another avenue of appeal. Note that 28 U.S.C.158(d)(2) provides for direct appeal from bankruptcy court to the circuit court of appeals under certain conditions.

  • Locate bankruptcy courts - Links to the individual bankruptcy courts can be found here. Each bankruptcy court's website includes the court's local rules, current standing orders, official local forms, and judges' chambers procedures.
  • Decisions from the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts can be found on Bloomberg Law, FastcaseLexis, and Westlaw.  These research platforms offer access to decisions from the U.S. District Courts, Bankruptcy Appellate Panels, Circuit Courts, and U.S. Supreme Court as well. 

Bankruptcy Case Statistics

U.S. Bankruptcy Caseload Statistics - cases filed by business or nonbusiness category with data available for filings by Bankruptcy Code Chapter; compiled on uscourts.gov website.

State Law & Bankruptcy Exemptions

State law figures in bankruptcy exemptions, namely which property may be exempted from the bankruptcy estate.

Resources for researching state exemptions:

  • Bloomberg Law Bankruptcy Practice Center - contains links to state exemption statutes and state fraudulent transfer statutes.
  • Collier on Bankruptcy, 16th ed., includes a volume devoted to exemptions. 
    • Each state is covered and the state summary describes whether or not the state has opted out of the federal exemptions. Also available as Collier Exemption Guide. Both are available in print and on LexisNexis.
  • Norton Bankruptcy Practice and Procedure, Appendix 56-C lists state exemptions.

Books

Selected new titles and resources available in the Law Library