Reforming the European Insolvency Regulation

This project critically evaluates the proposals for reform of the European Insolvency Regulation - regulation 1346/2000 - advanced by the European Commission.

While criticised by some commentators as unsatisfactory, the Regulation is widely understood to work in practice.  The Commission proposals have been described as ‘modest’ and it is fair to say that they amount to a ‘service’ rather than a complete overhaul of the Regulation.

The proposals will be considered under the following heads: (1) General Philosophy; (2) Extension of the Regulation to cover pre-insolvency procedures; (3) Jurisdiction to open insolvency proceedings; (4) Co-ordination of main and secondary proceedings; (5) Groups of Companies; (6) Applicable law; (7) Publicity and improving the position of creditors.

The general message is that while there is much that is laudable in the Commission proposals, there is also much that has been missed out, particularly in the context of applicable law. 

The proposals reflect an approach that, in this particular area, progress is best achieved by a series of small steps rather than by a great leap forward.  This is not necessarily an approach that is mirrored in other areas of European policy making.