Sources Ancient and Modern - some thoughts from Professor David Graham QC's latest travels

The origins of the present and several further discussions of aspects of insolvency law are to be found in three recently published books from the United States and from France respectively. The first is Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's 'Hillel-If not now, when?' (Schoken Books) which appeared in September 2010. The second work is Paul D Halliday's 'Habeas Corpus - From England to Empire' (The Bellknapp Press of Harvard University) which also came out earlier this year. The French work is Andre' Jacquemont's 'Droit Des Entreprises en Difficulte.'  The 6th edition was published by Litec in 2009. This work, with its 600 pages costs thirty five euros and deserves to find a place on the shelves of insolvency academics as well as professional practitioners concerned with developments in relation to commerical and business failures accross the channel.

The author is a professor in the University of Borgogne (Burgundy). His manual deals with the process of  'conciliation' and in particular collective procedures for 'Sauvegard, Redressement et Liquidation judiciare.'  The particular significane of this treatise is that it contains an extremely useful bibiliography, as well as, especially, a fascinating historical survey of the relevant French law as well as an important consideration of the underlying principles. The book deals with the important legislative changes in the last decade or so, culminating in new ordinances of 18th December 2008 and 12th February 2009.

Telushkin's book has a fascinating passage dealing with the Jeiwsh concept of 'Prosbul'; this concept involved a declaration made in court, before the execution of a loan that the law requiring the release of a debt upon the entrant of the Sabbatical (or Jubilee) year, should not apply.

Professor Halliday's work is an immensley signifcant scholarly contribution to legal history. A detailed review of it appeared in July in the London Review of Books by the late Lord Bingham; this was almost certainly his final achievement. The book contains a reference to the case of Bisell before Lord Mansfield in 1774 where Habeas Corpus was granted for a child in a custody dispute between a mother and bankrupt father (Lostt 748, 98 English Reports 899, see also: Halliday at page 131 and 388, note 163).

Professor Graham will be returning to these and others sources in due course.