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Rethinking corporate bankruptcy theory in the twenty-first century

Paterson, Sarah (2016) Rethinking corporate bankruptcy theory in the twenty-first century. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 36 (4). 697 - 723. ISSN 0143-6503

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ojls/gqv038


Adopting a comparative UK/US approach, this article argues for the need to rethink corporate bankruptcy theory in the light of developments in the finance market. It argues that these developments have produced an effective mechanism, in large cases, for selecting between companies which will be worth more if they continue to trade and companies which ought to be allowed to fail, such that corporate bankruptcy law need no longer concern itself with steering creditor choice away from a sale of the business and assets and towards a restructuring. Moreover, it suggests that whilst the automatic stay remains a central tenet of corporate bankruptcy law where the market decides that the business and assets should be sold, in cases where the market sees more value if a company continues to trade, corporate bankruptcy law may operate very well without a stay as a resolution procedure for deadlocked negotiations. The article identifies that in many large restructuring cases the only liabilities which are implicated are financial liabilities, and queries the extent to which the distributional concerns of the progressive movement, and US federal bankruptcy law, apply where losses are shared amongst sophisticated financial institutions. It ends with an explanation of why the analysis is limited to large cases, an indication of areas for further research and a note of caution for the future.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2015 14:46
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:21

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