ABI Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy – First Public Meeting is May 6, 2017

From Prof. Bob Lawless,

As you may have read, the American Bankruptcy Institute has announced the formation of a Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy (https://consumercommission.abi.org/). The Commission has been given the task of recommending improvements in consumer bankruptcy at all levels. Chaired by retired Bankruptcy Judges William Houston Brown and Elizabeth Perris, the Commission is composed of seventeen experts who broadly represent the various stakeholders in the consumer bankruptcy system. The Commission has been saddled with me as its reporter. The Commission will issue a final report in December 2018.

The Commission’s first public meeting will be held during the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys’ (NACBA) 2017 Annual Convention on May 6 from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM in Oceanic Room 1 of the Walt Disney Dolphin Hotel, the conference hotel. The Commission invites interested persons to request time to make an oral statement at this public meeting, and in addition (or alternatively) to submit a written statement to the Commission. To request a time for a public statement or to send a written statement, please use the Commission’s public email address: ConsumerCommission@abiworld.org. (I monitor this account.)

Everyone who requests a time for an oral statement is encouraged to submit a written statement as well. The Commission hopes to accommodate as many speakers as possible, and so speakers can expect to be limited to about five minutes. But if, even with this time limit, more people request to speak than there is time available, the Commission will give priority to those who have submitted a written statement. For full consideration, requests should be submitted by April 24. The Commission will let everyone making a speaking request know what time they are scheduled to speak.

Right now is a time at which you can be particularly helpful as the Commission sets its agenda. At its first public meeting, the Commission will be in the middle of identifying the particular topics it will study. The Commission will be especially interested in public statements about which topics it should consider given its charge:

[R]ecommending improvements to the consumer bankruptcy system that can be implemented within its existing structure. These changes might include amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, changes to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, administrative rules or actions, recommendations on proper interpretations of existing law, and other best practices that judges, trustees, and lawyers can implement.

Ideas might include everything from how debtors can better access the system, to how the system can be made to work less expensively or more quickly for everyone, how more effective relief can be provided, or to how the system can create more certainty of outcomes. Anything is fair game within the charge of the Commission to consider improvement that can be implemented within the existing structure of the bankruptcy system.


Robert M. Lawless

Max L. Rowe Professor of Law

Co-director, Program on Law, Behavior & Social Science

University of Illinois College of Law

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