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Cross-Border Debt Adjustment – Open Questions in European Insolvency Proceedings



At present, 18 European Union member states have some form of legislation on adjustment of the debts of a private individual. Only half of these debt adjustment proceedings are mentioned in Annex A of the European Insolvency Regulation (EIR) and therefore fall within the scope of it. As most of the debt adjustment proceedings are not included in the scope of the Brussels I Regulation, there is a regulatory gap in the European insolvency proceedings with unpleasant impacts on the free movement of labour. Fortunately, changes are coming, in the form of the EIR reform.

In order to bring debt adjustment within the scope of the EIR, the Commission proposes to loosen the prerequisite concerning the legal effects, which the opening of the proceedings has on the debtor. Regarding the jurisdiction to open main proceedings, the Commission proposes that COMI (the debtor's centre of main interests) would be the place of habitual residence. The open question is, whether residency requires a certain continuity or stability. This issue is discussed in the paper taking into account recent Court of Justice of the European Union case law.

The challenge of the EIR reform is that only provisions on scope and jurisdiction have been modified as to debt adjustment. One may ask, e.g. when the prerequisites concerning the opening of secondary proceedings are fulfilled if the debtor is a private individual. Copyright © 2013 INSOL International and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd