Insolvency proceedings involving parties from more than one EU Member State could be simplified under new guidelines.
The project being drawn up by Nottingham Law School’s Professor Paul Omar with the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, has secured European Union funding of 275,000 euros to improve cross-border communications and cooperation between courts handling insolvency cases in the EU.
It is being promoted by the European Commission’s Directorate General on Justice and further cash has come from the EU’s Civil Justice Programme, which aims to strengthen freedom, security and justice in the European area.
Prof Omar will work with professors Bob Wessels and Jan Adriaanse to draw up a set of guidelines and will subsequently provide training for judges, court staff and legal practitioners.
Much of the training would be held at Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University.
Tentatively called the EU Cross-Border Insolvency Court-to-Court Cooperation Guidelines, they are intended to support European insolvency regulation and will be framed to ensure efficient and effective handling of debtors’ estates on a cross-border basis.
A review and advisory group of judges, academics and senior insolvency practitioners will review the draft guidelines which are expected to be presented in September 2013.
The project, European Cross-Border Insolvency: Promoting Judicial Cooperation, is intended to build on earlier work by bodies such as Insol Europe and the American Law Institute and International Insolvency Institute’s joint project on global principles for cross-border insolvency. In this work professors Omar and Wessels were involved too.
Comprehensive training and tools will be developed as part of the project for judges and practitioners, chiefly in countries recently acceding to the European Union as well as accession candidates.
Prof Omar said: “Training will allow legal professionals to develop uniform interpretations of insolvency terms and concepts and make them familiar with the accepted guidelines.
“By doing so, they will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of insolvency proceedings having cross-border effects, which will in turn provide greater certainty and predictability in the market.”
Once approved, training will take place in two stages.
The first will invite a number of European insolvency judges to participate in conferences, including events organised by invited project partners, including the International Insolvency Institute.
The second will focus on bringing together European insolvency judges for training in Nottingham, Leiden and in Eastern Europe.
Prof Omar said the project fits firmly within Nottingham Law School’s focus on outreach to practice, which has recently involved providing advocacy training in the United Kingdom and Malaysia, advising on the development of legal vocational qualifications in Mauritius and participating in the Legal Education Training Review looking at the qualifications of regulated legal professions in England and Wales.