Module leader: Dr Katharina Möser
Teaching and assessment: 6,000 word assessed essay
Personal insolvency law pursues several, seemingly contradictory objectives. On the one hand, it is a creditor-orientated debt collection procedure and on the other it is debtor-orientated debt relief procedure. While English insolvency law has a long tradition of providing debt relief to trade debtors, it has now become an important remedy to deal with the dramatic increase of consumer over-indebtedness. With annually around 100,000 personal insolvencies in England and Wales, it has developed into an area of major practical importance. All relevant procedures have been subject to fundamental reforms in recent years.
This course will familiarise students with formal and informal insolvency solutions. It will look at the relevant procedures from an empirical, historical, theoretical and comparative perspective. The aim of the module is to provide students with a critical understanding of the economic, social and moral tensions underlying this area. Classes will be conducted in a seminar format, with readings and questions set in advance for discussion.
The module will cover topics, such as:
- Reasons and consequences of over-indebtedness
- Development of personal insolvency law from 1542 to 21st century
- Formal insolvency proceedings: Bankruptcy, Administration Orders, Individual Voluntary
- Arrangements, Debt Relief Orders
- The administration of insolvency regimes (the courts, the Insolvency Service, Official Receivers, the Secretary of Trade and Insolvency, insolvency practitioners)
- Insolvency restrictions, offences
- Informal insolvency solutions
- Theoretical underpinnings of debt relief
- Personal insolvency proceedings in other jurisdictions