The Bankruptcy Rules Of The Road

Where are the answers?Do you need to know how much notice to give on a chapter 13 plan?

What happens when a debtor dies?

How to file a proof of claim or object to one already filed?

When is discovery allowed in bankruptcy?

The answers can be found in the bankruptcy rules.

Rules: The How To Manual

The bankruptcy rules dictate how to report an inheritance four months after filing, how to file a motion for stay relief, the process for taking a 2004 exam, when a discharge is not granted, how to appeal a bankruptcy ruling, computation of time, jury trials in bankruptcy, pleading forms, filing documents under seal, and many other topics.

The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (abbreviated Fed. R. Bankr. P. or FRBP) is the place to look for answers to your questions about bankruptcy procedure. ‘

They are the bankruptcy counterpart to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wise bankruptcy attorneys keep their rules handy and look up the rules often.

What the rules cover

The FRBP are organized into nine sections:

  1. Petition and Commencement of Case
  2. Officers and Administration
  3. Claims and Distribution
  4. Debtor Duties and Benefits
  5. Courts and Clerks
  6. Collection and Liquidation of Estate
  7. Adversary Proceedings
  8. Bankruptcy Appeals
  9. General Provisions

Who Makes the Bankruptcy Rules?

The bankruptcy rules are issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. They have the force and effect of law.

The rulemaking process has been delegated to committees of the Judicial Conference, the principal policy-making body of the U.S. Courts. Judges, law professors and attorneys serve on the committees. The rulemaking meetings and records are open to the public. Meeting agendas and minutes are posted on the Internet.

The process of turning an idea into a new rule is a long one, at least three years. Anyone can suggest a rule change.

Suggestions come from judges, practicing attorneys, academia, government agencies, bar associations, and members of the public. Six suggestions have been logged so far in 2013.

You Can Suggest Change to Bankruptcy Rules

You, too, may suggest a change to the bankruptcy rules by email to [email protected] A suggestion may be as simple as a short email or letter. It does not have be a formal proposal.

Rules suggestions are studied by the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules. If meritorious, the committee reporter drafts a proposed rule. The proposed rule is debated by the advisory committee. If passed out of committee, the proposed rule is sent to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference for permission to publish it for pubic comment.

Proposed rules are widely published and comments are solicited for six months. Anyone can comment on rules proposals.

Comments are then considered. The proposed rule may be approved, revised or abandoned. If approved, it is sent back to the Advisory Committee, the Judicial Conference and the Supreme Court for approval. Once the Supreme Court promulgates a new rule, Congress has seven months to act or it becomes law as issued.

Upcoming Rules Changes

New rules typically take effect on December 1, several years after first suggested. Absent Congressional action, the following bankruptcy rules will be amended effective December 1, 2013:

Bankruptcy Rules 1007(b)(7), 4004(c)(1), 5009(b)

Debtors will not have to file Official Form 23 if the financial management course provider directly notifies the Court that the Debtor has completed the education.

The vendors will be given limited ECF logins. The Clerk will not have to notify debtors if notice has been received.

The goal of the rule change is to reduce the number of cases closed without discharge for failure to file proof the education has been obtained.

Bankruptcy Rules 9006(d), 9013, and 9014

Rule 9006(d) is amended to prescribe time limits for service of motions and responses.

The current rule involves only the serving of responding affidavits. The rule is amended to be inclusive as possible. Rules 9013 and 9014 are amended to cross reference new 9006(d).

Image courtesy of Flickr and Oberazzi.


KansasJill Michaux is a Kansas bankruptcy attorney. She can often be found on Google+ or Bankruptcy Law Network where she shares information about consumer bankruptcy law issues.

 P.S.  Jill didn’t tell you she now serves on the national rule making committee and is a voice for real, in the trenches, consumer bankruptcy lawyers.

I’m going to tell you, also, that the early bird pricing for this summer’s Bankruptcy Practice Workshop expires Friday.  Wait til the weekend and you’ve just paid more for this dynamite, weekend intensive on using the web to market your practice, for next to no money, managing staff and clients, and persuading judges to approve larger fees.  Cathy


  1. CathyMoran says

    Ken Klee just finished telling the Judge Joe Lee Bankruptcy Institute about the impact of Stern v. Marshall, creating a class of CORE matters where the bankruptcy court doesn’t have jurisdiction.
    And then he told us that the Rules Committee is working on rules to implement the holding of Stern. Given the chaos in the cases, I don’t envy Jill the issues the Rules Committee faces.

  2. Jacob Wadsworth says

    I see. At least we have a chance to suggest changes since we are the ones who can benefit from it anyway. I’m not saying that we are hoping to be bankrupt but when the unfortunate happens, at least it is fitted to our needs. –