Heidelberg Law Scholars Complete Evaluation of EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings

Press Release No. 11/2013
18 January 2013
Comprehensive reform proposals elaborated at the request of the EU Commission

At the behest of the EU Commission, Heidelberg University law scholars have evaluated the application of the European Insolvency Regulation in practice and elaborated comprehensive reform proposals. Prof. Dr. Burkhard Hess and Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeiffer of the Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law in conjunction with Prof. Dr. Andreas Piekenbrock of the Institute for Civil Law, Labor Law and Insolvency Law and Prof. Dr. Paul Oberhammer of Vienna University, have elaborated various approaches to redesigning procedural mechanisms in insolvency proceedings with cross-border implications. They were supported in this endeavour by national reporters from 26 member states of the European Union. The findings of the study will contribute directly to the ongoing reform process at the European level.

The European Regulation on Insolvency coordinates insolvency proceedings with cross-border implications, as in the Lehman insolvency case, but also extends to minor proceedings such as those triggered by instances of “insolvency tourism” by German consumers in France or the UK. The law scholars from Heidelberg and Vienna have elaborated proposals on how mechanisms might look in insolvency proceedings involving major group of companies with assets distributed across various EU states. One of the points at issue here is the question of which courts have jurisdiction in such cases and what powers insolvency administrators have in the countries concerned. “We have come up with broad-based judgment criteria that can help make the European Insolvency Regulation an even more effective instrument for the cross-border coordination of proceedings,” says Prof. Pfeiffer.

With the reform of the Insolvency Regulation in the European Union, which came into force in 2002, the EU Commission intends to adapt it to the developments that have materialised in insolvency law in the member states over the past 10 years. This “modernisation” is designed to facilitate the restructuring of enterprises that are in difficulties and create favourable parameters in what is an economically difficult period. As the law scholars say, the EU Commission has already made a proposal for reform based on the findings of the study. Now the European Parliament will concern itself with the proposed amendments.

The Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law acts on an advisory basis and accompanies legislation ventures in Germany and Europe, thus bringing law theory and legal practice closer together. The findings of the study on the European Insolvency Regulation can be found at and will be published in book form in the near future.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeiffer
Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law
phone: +49 6221 542205

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