Guest Post: Dr Paul Omar - Insol-Europe Academic Forum News

I am grateful to Dr Paul Omar of Sussex University Law School for the following guest post, which details recent and forthcoming INSOL Academic Forum events, deadlines, book competitions, and other interesting material: 

"A - Past Events

1. Milan Conference 31 March-1 April 2011

The Academic Forum’s Fourth Joint Conference took place on 31 March-1 April 2011 in the surroundings of the University of Milan, Italy. The conference was a collaboration with the Milan Law School, where Professor Stefania Bariatti, the newly inaugurated Chair of the Academic Forum, is the Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Private International Law. It was also co-hosted by the Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti e degli Experti Contabili. A full programme dealt with reform of the European Insolvency Regulation (“EIR”) as well as of national insolvency laws. The themes were motivated by the review of the EIR and the anticipated tender process in 2011 for a report into the workings of the text, which will be designed to identify the lacunae, problems and necessary amendments that could be the subject of a revised text. Furthermore, ongoing reviews of domestic substantive laws in the European Union and related states are taking place with contributions under this topic addressing current initiatives in developed countries, countries in transition, would-be accession candidates as well as their trading partners.

The national reform dimension began on 31 March with a Mediterranean flavour, containing papers by Cecilia Carrara (LUISS Rome) on “New Financing in the Context of Workouts/Restructuring Agreements under Italian Law”, Alexandra Kastrinou (Westminster) on “The Newly Introduced Insolvency Code of Greece”, Ana Filipa Conceição (Leiria) on “Reforms to Spanish Insolvency Law” as well as Catarina Serra (Minho) on “The Portuguese Classification of Insolvency: Random or Fraudulent Insolvency”. Attention then shifted towards the East with contributions from Paul Varul (Tartu) on “Trends in the Development of Insolvency Laws in Transition States: The Baltic Experience”, Anto Kasak (Tartu) on “The Reform and Regulation of Preferential Claims in Estonian Law”, Lavinia Iancu (Timisoara) on “Reforms in Romanian Law” and Tomas Richter (Prague) on the “Verification and Contesting of Creditors’ Claims: Constitutional Limits in the Czech Insolvency Code”. As at all academic conferences, proceedings on the first day ended with a social aspect with delegates attending a reception and dinner at the La Dolce Vita Restaurant on Via Bergamini near the University. The dinner speech was delivered by His Honour Judge Luciano Panzani, the President of the Turin Court and former Member of the Italian Supreme Court, on reforms to the functioning of the Italian justice system.

The domestic reform element concluded on the morning of 1 April with a final session on mostly related states material with Christian Witting (Durham) offering a paper on “Insolvent Subsidiaries”, followed by Leonie Stander (North-West University, South Africa) on “The Improved Protection of Debtors in South-Africa: the Interaction between the New National Credit Act and the Insolvency Act” and Rodrigo Rodriguez (Bern) on “The Project for Reform of Swiss Restructuring Law”. Consideration of the European reform agenda then took place over two sessions on the same day with contributions from Bob Wessels (Leiden) titled “Renewal of the EIR: Shaken or Stirred?”, Jean-Luc Vallens, a noted French magistrate and frequent speaker at INSOL-Europe conferences, on the subject of the future of the EIR, Thomas Hoffmann (Kiel) on “Consumer Insolvency Tourism and the EIR – stuck between convergence needs and the Stockholm action plan?”, Luigi Fumagalli (Milan) on “Avoidance proceedings before the Italian courts: avoiding Article 13 of the EIR”, Giorgio Corno, a prominent Milan lawyer, on “The EIR and Italian Rules governing the Lodging, Verification and Admission of Claims: Theory and Practice”, Alexander Schall (Hamburg) on “Article 13 and the Equitable Subordination of Shareholder Loans” and ending with Melissa Vanmeenen and Arie van Hoe (Antwerp) on “Shareholder Loans at the Crossroads between Corporate and Insolvency Law”. Also on 1 April, as at previous conferences in Stockholm and Vienna, a session featuring young academics took place with presentations by Bo Xie (Manchester) on “Developments in United Kingdom Insolvency Law: Regulating Pre-packs: A Completed Agenda?”, Anthon Verweij (Leiden) on the “Kosovo Insolvency Capacity Building Project” and Luigi Lai (Warsaw) on “The New Polish Consumer Insolvency Law”.

Overall, delegate numbers approached 80 with representatives from some 17 jurisdictions. A full write-up of the conference will be contained in the summer edition of Eurofenix, the house magazine of INSOL-Europe.

B – Future Events

The Academic Forum will be organising two conferences in late 2011, both displaying a common theme, taking place on islands noted for their scenery and history. The Annual Conference of the Academic Forum will precede INSOL-Europe’s Main Conference in Venice in September, while the Fifth Joint Insolvency Conference will be held in St Helier on the island of Jersey in October.

1. Venice Conference 21-22 September 2011

The Academic Forum’s annual conference will take place on the Wednesday and Thursday (21-22 September 2011) prior to the main conference. The sessions group together a number of topics featured in the Call for Papers, including the relationship of the European Insolvency Regulation to the UNCITRAL Model Law. Under this heading, the conference will hear papers from Gerry McCormack (Leeds) on the interaction between the texts, while Daniel Austin (Northeastern University Boston) will talk on Chapter 15 and cross-border insolvencies. Joining them will be Irit-Ronen-Mevorach (Nottingham) on the prospect of substantive harmonisation of insolvency laws in Europe in the wake of UNCITRAL's work on groups and directors duties and André Berends (Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands) on a topic to be advised. Cross-border regimes outside the EIR also receive a mention in proceedings with papers from Jessica Schmidt (Jena), Marie-Louise Lennarts (Utrecht) and Paul Omar (Sussex) on recent developments in German, Dutch and United Kingdom law respectively. The third substantive topic for discussion will be substantive harmonisation or convergence in Europe, with papers from Juanitta Calitz (Johannesburg) on a European perspective on sovereign insolvency law, Ron Harmer (University College London), assessing the insolvency regimes among EBRD client states, Alexander Schall (Hamburg) on the actio Pauliana, Roman Tomasic (Durham) on the issue of forum shopping versus harmonisation and Michael Schillig (King’s College London) on the contractualization of corporate insolvency law in Europe.

Continuing the tradition begun in Stockholm in 2009, an expanded Young Academics Network session this year will see contributions by five doctoral candidates, including Djuro Djuric (Saarland) on the relationship of Serbian insolvency law to European Union standardisation in insolvency, Ekaterini Sabatakakis (Littoral Côte d'Opale) on workers’ rights in insolvency, Bolanle Adebola (UCL) on receivership in Nigeria as well as Olga Lvova (Moscow Lomonosov) and Luigi Lai (Warsaw) on topics to be advised. As part of proceedings, there will be a report back on Academic Forum activities in 2010-2011 and a management board meeting to plan activities and identify themes for the Nottingham and Brussels conferences in 2012. Delegates will also attend a dinner on 21 September. Closing the conference will be the annual Edwin Coe Lecture. The Academic Forum is particularly pleased to announce that the 2011 lecture will be delivered by Professor Karsten Schmidt, President of the Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany, on the interaction of insolvency law and corporate law with an especial focus on the German experience and the international background.

Please note that the registration brochure for the Venice conference is available at: , while on-line registration for the event is also possible at: .


Travel grants sponsored by Edwin Coe LLP are also available for those seeking to attend the Venice conference. The requisite form may be downloaded from: .

2. Jersey Conference 14 October 2011

The Academic Forum’s Fifth Joint Conference will take place on 14 October 2011 in St Helier, Jersey. This one-day conference is a collaboration with the Jersey Institute of Law, which was founded to provide a focus for academic study and professional education in Jersey and Guernsey law and to nurture the legal heritage of the Channel Islands. The law on insolvency in the Channel Islands displays both its roots in the customary law of Normandy as well as influences from civil law developments in neighbouring France and, more lately, the influence, as far as corporate liquidation is concerned, of comparable rules in the United Kingdom. As a mixed jurisdiction, the laws in Jersey and Guernsey provide a fascinating insight into the juxtaposition of rules from different legal families with both civil and common law influences. The conference coincides with the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Désastre (Jersey) Law 1990 and the passing of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991, between which the major insolvency frameworks for individual and corporate debtors are contained.

The conference will focus on the genesis of the current framework for désastre in Jersey with a paper given by its architect, Sir Philip Bailhache (former Bailiff of Jersey). Attention will be given to the administration of désastre by Mike Wilkins (Viscount of the Royal Court), while a paper on reform initiatives proposed by the Law Commission in Jersey to both désastre and other customary law procedures will be delivered by Marcus Pallot (Advocate, Carey Olsen). An insight will also be given into insolvency from the Guernsey perspective by Jeremy Wessels (Advocate and Partner, Mourant Ozannes) as well as into practical aspects in relation to the functioning of the law with papers on the actio Pauliana by Sinead Agnew (Secretary, Institute of Law) and on the dégrèvement procedure by Mark Harris and Eloise Layzell (Associates, Mourant Ozannes). The conference will furthermore feature contributions from a number of overseas speakers with experience of law reform projects across the world, including Neil Cooper (Partner, ZolfoCooper), Harry Rajak (Sussex) and David Burdette (Nottingham Trent), who will provide views as to considerations that might inform the process of law reform should this be undertaken.

Information on the Jersey conference is available at: and , with the brochure also containing registration information.

C - Book Projects/Conference Reports

The Academic Forum is pleased to announce that the series of Technical Papers, inaugurated in 2009, has now been joined by a further volume representing contributions at the Leiden Conference in 2010, titled: “Cross-Border Management in the Banking Sector”. The Vienna Conference papers will be edited by Paul Omar in April 2011 and will appear in time for the Venice Conference. Responsibility for editing the conference collections for Milan 2011 and subsequently has been taken up by Professor Rebecca Parry of Nottingham Trent University, author of many renowned insolvency works. It is expected that the Milan conference proceedings will also be available at the Venice Conference.

Information about the series may be viewed at: .

D – Edwin Coe Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship


Edwin Coe LLP are an eminent firm based in the United Kingdom with a specialisation in insolvency restructuring. They have agreed to sponsor the activities of the Academic Forum of INSOL Europe in 2007-2013.

As part of this sponsorship, prizes are available so as to enable the recognition of legal scholarship by academic scholars and researchers specialising in insolvency law.

The prizes will be awarded by open competition.

The rules are as follows:

1. The prizes are available for sole or jointly authored published books, but not edited collections (i.e. contributed essays from a number of authors).

2. The books entered into the competition must have been published within 24 months prior to the end of the closing date of the competition (31 May 2011).

3. The prizes will be awarded by a Jury nominated by the Management Board of the INSOL Europe Academic Forum, against whose decisions there is no appeal.

4. There will be two prizes: a first prize of €600 (Six Hundred Euro) and a second prize of €400 (Four Hundred Euro), payable to the author(s) of the successful books. If in the opinion of the Jury, no one book is sufficiently outstanding for the first prize, then two second prizes may be awarded or a second and third prize. In these cases, the prize moneys may be awarded at the Jury’s discretion.

5. The prizes are open to existing and prospective members of the Academic Forum. Persons who are not members at the time of entry to the competition will be invited to join the Academic Forum.

6. Entries are invited from the authors themselves or the publishers of the text. Entries must be accompanied by:

(a)    a statement of why the book is being entered and its merits;
(b)    proof of the date and year in which it was published;
(c)    two copies of the book.

7. Nominations and the books may be sent to the Secretary at the following address:

            Dr Paul Omar
            Sussex Law School
            Friston Building
            University of Sussex
            BRIGHTON BN1 9PS
            United Kingdom

8. Winners of the prizes must undertake that subsequent publicity for the book, including any mention in publicity material or on a website or in any subsequent edition of the text, will note the receipt of the Edwin Coe Prize.

E – Newsletter Appeal for Information

If recipients of this newsletter wish to advertise conferences, workshops or other insolvency-connected events as well as note research projects and possible collaborations, either in future editions of the newsletter or on the INSOL-Europe Academic Forum website, please contact the Secretary at: , or ."

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