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date: 15 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with fundamental issues of corporate insolvency (bankruptcy) law. Particular attention is paid to the agency problems related to “insolvency (bankruptcy) governance” of corporations and how these problems are addressed in various jurisdictions. Methodologically, the chapter is based on a functional approach that compares different legal regimes against the yardstick of economic efficiency. The structure of the chapter follows the issues as they arise in time in a corporate insolvency proceeding: objectives of insolvency laws, opening and governance of proceedings, ranking of claims and the position of secured creditors and shareholders, and rescue proceedings. The chapter also covers the contractual resolution of financial distress. It concludes with thoughts on the reasons for the identified jurisdictional divergences and an outlook on the worldwide efforts toward harmonization of (corporate) insolvency laws. In terms of jurisdictions, the chapter mainly draws on the corporate insolvency laws in the US, England, France, and Germany.

Keywords: insolvency, bankruptcy, corporations, corporate insolvency law, corporate bankruptcy law, comparative law, insolvency governance, bankruptcy governance

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