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Alternative Structures for Bankruptcy Appeals

Elizabeth C. Wiggins, Judith A. McKenna
January 1, 2002
Archival Copy on File

Under the current bankruptcy appellate system, appeals from dispositive orders of bankruptcy judges are taken to the district court or to the bankruptcy appellate panel, if one has been established and the district has chosen to participate, with further appeal as of right to the court of appeals. In response to legislative proposals to change this system, the Judicial Conference of the United States asked Congress to defer action until the judiciary had an opportunity to "study further the existing process and possible alternative structures and to submit a subsequent report to Congress." To facilitate the Conference's deliberations, its Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System asked the Federal Judicial Center to study the existing bankruptcy appellate structure and possible alternatives. This report sets out the results of that study. It describes the bankruptcy appellate system now operating in the United States and how it evolved, sets out the recent efforts to change this system, and analyzes the evidence regarding the need for change and the desirability of proposed changes.

Reprinted from 76 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 625 (Fall 2002).

Note: This is a slightly updated version of the Center's publication Alternative Structures for Bankruptcy Appeals (2000, 123 pp.). This report is identical to the Federal Judicial Center's report that was considered by the Judicial Conference Bankruptcy Committee in making its recommendations in 1999, except that Part 2 has been updated to reflect more recent legislative and Judicial Conference activity. In addition, Appendices A, B, and D to the initial report are omitted and minor editorial changes have been made.