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Extensive discussions on Business Rescue in Europe

On 19 and 20 March, the reporters of the ELI Project on Rescue of Business in Insolvency Law (Prof. Bob Wessels Prof. Stephan Madaus, Halle-Wittenberg, Ass. Prof. Kristin van Zwieten, Oxford) chaired a conference to present the preliminary results of this project. The project, initiated by the European Law Institute, aims at designing (elements of) an appropriate legal enabling framework, which includes certain statutory procedures that encourage parties to negotiate solutions in a situation of business distress. National Correspondents present are experts from a selected group of 14 different European countries, each of which represents a different approach to insolvency law.

Some topics that have been covered in those reports include: governance and supervision of in-court and out-of-court rescue, special protection for financing a rescue, treatment of executory contracts, ranking of creditors, avoidance powers, restructuring plans, special arrangements for SMEs, and the position of liquidators and directors. During the (non-public) conference, attended by some 35 persons from 14 jurisdictions.

National Correspondents have presented their respective national inventory reports and normative reports, the main results of which will serve as the basis for further discussion. Members of the Advisory Committee (AC) and of the ELI Members Consultative Committee (MCC) as well as an expert from the European Commission’ staff from Brussels (as Observer) attended the conference, providing a great opportunity to give feedback on the progress of the project at this early stage and suggestions on further steps in the coming months. Some specific issues for a legal enabling framework for business rescue in Europe were discussed more closely in workshops. In the later stages of the project, in addition to these national reports, an inventory report on international recommendations from standard-setting organisations, such as the World Bank and UNCITRAL, will be drafted. The Project Team will use these results to formulate their recommendations for reform. This process will be assisted by input from a specialist Advisory Committee, staffed by experts in relevant areas of law and legal practice across Europe. More information about the project is contained in the Business Rescue Project’s brochure and on the ELI website.

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