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Enhancing Rescue in Chapter 11: Lessons from Reform Efforts in the United Kingdom
American Business Law Journal  (IF1.533),  Pub Date : 2020-07-20, DOI: 10.1111/ablj.12158
Robert J. Landry

This is a dynamic time for insolvency law. Many jurisdictions have made or are considering reforms to their insolvency regimes. The United Kingdom has proposed a new standalone restructuring mechanism that incorporates many attributes of Chapter 11, including a cross‐class cram down and the absolute priority rule. A distinctive feature of the UK proposal is the infusion of judicial discretion permitting courts to deviate from the absolute priority rule. This discretion is not permitted in the United States. This judicial discretion addresses a key problem with the application of the absolute priority rule in the United Statesit may serve as an impediment to reorganization. This impediment is exacerbated by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., which impacts the effective use of Chapter 11 rescue tools. This article explores the absolute priority rule, the problems associated with it, and the effect of Jevic in the United States. Drawing on the UK reform proposal, I argue that the United States should implement reforms that infuse judicial discretion into the application of the absolute priority rule. Doing so will facilitate the underlying policy goal of rescuing the company in Chapter 11 and also promote a broader policy goal of rescuing the business.