Project Introduction

The project “The Contractualised distress resolution in the shadow of the law: Effective judicial review and oversight of insolvency and pre-insolvency proceedings” is carried out by a partnership of several universities: Università degli Studi di Firenze (Project Coordinator), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Partner) and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Partner), supported by the Consejo General del Poder Judicial (Associate Partner), Banca d’Italia (Associate Partner) and Entrepreneurship Lab Research Center (Associate Partner). The partnership benefits from previous working relationships among the key members of the staff, as members of the ‘Global Insolvency Task Force’ of the World Bank, and of the International Insolvency Institute.

The project addresses several key issues highlighted in the Recommendation of 12 March 2014 on a new approach to business failure and insolvency (2014/135/EU). Priority preference of the project is given by JUST/2014/JCOO/AG, Section 2.1 I “Exchange of best practices in the field of insolvency and pre-insolvency proceedings”. It also considers the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventive restructuring frameworks, second chance and measures to increase the efficiency of restructuring, insolvency and discharge procedures and amending Directive 2012/30/EU (COM(2016) 723 final), published on November 22, 2016.

The key objectives of the project are the following:

  • Creating an empirically rich resource to illuminate national and European policy and legislative debates on the strengthening and harmonization of preventive restructuring proceedings and tools;
  • Formulating harmonized guidelines for effective judicial review and oversight of fair and efficient insolvency and pre-insolvency proceedings aimed at rescuing distressed but viable enterprises, with particular focus on proceedings with limited court involvement (‘semi-formal proceedings’);
  • Providing guidance on implementation of, and participation in, semi-formal proceedings by debtors, practitioners, lenders and regulatory authorities;
  • Facilitating rehabilitation, especially of small and medium enterprises (‘SMEs’), so as to allow entrepreneurs to restart after failure, envisaged by the EU Parliament Resolution of 15-11-2011 on insolvency proceedings (Recital M), the Communication of 3-3-2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020’ (COM (2010) 2020, Par. 3.1), and the Proposal Directive (COM(2016) 723 final);
  • Establishing a restructuring negotiation framework for banks and lenders in general, thereby facilitating efficient management of non-performing loans.
  • Developing policy recommendations addressed to policymakers at the European and national level, based on the results of the national empirical analysis carried out in four EU jurisdictions.

The benefits from the project will be for judicial authorities, national policy-makers and legislators, insolvency regulators and supervisors, banks and bank supervisory authorities, practitioners and scholars. 

The project deliverable consists in a Final Report addressing the main matters of restructuring proceedings (both in-court and out-of-court proceedings) and formulating guidelines and policy recommendations.

The Final Report has been published on September 2018. An open access version of the report is available here.

The final conference of the project has been held in Brussels, on 5 July 2018. The recording of the event is available here.