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INSOL Europe news and offers
October 2022


Dear Members

Ní neart go cur le chéile. ... There is no strength without unity.

It is a great honour personally and professionally to write this, my first editorial as President of INSOL Europe. I would repeat here my commitment to give it my best shot.

At the public handing over of the President's baton, Frank managed to crack a joke to me privately and off the microphone. That moment typified our working relationship over the last few years. We get the job done well but we have some fun along the way. Frank has been a fantastic President and ambassador and I have big shoes to fill. 

I appreciate that I am lucky to be doing so at this time because it is the lifting of pandemic restrictions which allowed us to hold two sell out conferences this year. And what a wonderful conference we just had in Dubrovnik. The multiple benefits of meeting together in person gives truth to the old Irish saying above, which emphasises the importance of working together.

We cannot thank our members and sponsors often enough for helping to make this happen and I would like to add my thanks. There is a long list of people to be thanked and the list is getting longer. That reflects the widening number of events and interest groups represented at our conference, many of which are reported on more fully in this edition.

The membership experience is the prism through which almost all of the important decisions at Council are made. I look forward to engaging with as many of you as possible over the next year with a view to enhancing the membership experience. 

Mise le meas,

Barry Cahir
President, INSOL Europe


Barry Cahir
President of
INSOL Europe


This issue is kindly
sponsored by:



DLA Piper is a global law
firm with lawyers located
in more than 40 countries
throughout the world.

Dubrovnik Congress Report: Resilience in the face of adversity

INSOL Europe's second 'Annual’ Congress of the year took place in its usual Autumn slot at the Rixos Hotel in Dubrovnik from 6-9 October with over 360 delegates in attendance.

Opening remarks on Friday 6 October were provided by facilitator Frances Coulson (Wedlake Bell, UK), Congress co-chair Jelenko Lehki (Lehki Law Office, Croatia) and Frank Tschentscher (Deloitte, Germany), who entered the final phase of his Presidency at this conference.

Two keynotes in quick succession followed, delivered by Bojan Fras (Vice-Governor, Legal Area and the Consumer Protection Monitoring Office, Croatian National Bank) on the NPL situation in Croatia and possible connection between NPL ratios and insolvency in Croatia.

More photos and a short video 
can also be viewed on our website.


Continuing the theme of precarity, José Garrido (Supervisor of the Insolvency Working Group and Senior Counsel at the Financial and Fiscal Law UnitLegal Dept, IMF) spoke on the role of the IMF in maintaining international financial stability and insolvency law as a critical element of robust financial frameworks.

On Saturday 7 October, delegates were welcomed back to the keynote by Fabris Peruško (CEO, Fortenova, Croatia) giving some impressive statistics on the case of Agrokor: a €7.8 billion bankruptcy whose debt was equivalent to 15% of Croatia’s GDP. Rounding off the day, the final plenary on “Harmonisation of Insolvency Laws in the EU” saw a musical karaoke Q&A session between Robert Hänel (Anchor Rechtsanwalte, Germany) and Miha Žebre (Legal and Legislative Officer at the Civil Law Unit, DG Justice, European Commission) on progress in harmonisation within the EU. 

For further insights into the Congress, download an extensive report from our website.

The final technical programme and presentation slides have been published on our website here.

With thanks to our Congress Main Sponsor:

Recognition of insolvency and related decisions: Game of Norms!

One of the main complex and challenging issues discussed during the INSOL Europe Dubrovnik Congress was the recognition and enforcement of insolvency (and insolvency related) decisions, which has become even more controversial, as a consequence of Brexit and also in connection with new restructuring tools which have been made recently available in different jurisdictions.

In particular, the “Game of Norms” panel - chaired by Rita Gismondi (Gianni & Origoni, Italy) and with Barbara Rumora-Scheltema (NautaDutilh, The Netherlands), David O’Dea (McCann Fitzgerald, Ireland), Craig Martin (DLA Piper LLP, US) and Geir Gestsson (Jonsson & Hall, Iceland) – highlighted the most recent trends and practical issues in cross-border cases involving different States and from the perspective of different countries, also by reference to recent cases. 

The Insolvency Recast Regulation recognition of main insolvency proceedings is automatic, on the basis of the principle of mutual trust (with limited exceptions), but it is limited to countries within the Regulation’s territorial scope and it does offer any support in relation to third countries. In addition, the regulatory cross-border framework is currently subject to discussion across Europe in relation to new procedural options introduced in most EU Member States when implementing the Preventive Restructuring Frameworks Directive. 

Other international instruments deal with the recognition issue relating to insolvency (and insolvency-related) judgments – in particular, the UNCITRAL model law on cross-border insolvency, the UNCITRAL model law on recognition and enforcement of insolvency-related judgments and the UNCITRAL Model law on enterprise group insolvency – which however lead to further discussions in terms of implementation. 

The Model Law on cross-border insolvency has not been implemented yet by the majority of the European countries (only Greece, Poland, Romania and Slovenia have adopted it, besides UK), and the recognition is mainly a matter of national law national law, but it  may widely vary from automatic recognition without limitation, and complex proceedings that take a long time, with further obstacles in case of enforcement. 

At the moment, the regulatory framework is still under discussion and it would be interesting to consider if there is need for legal reform and legislative action, and if a different approach at the EU level in relation to the implementation of the Model Law would be possible (e.g., implementing the Model Law when the EIR is amended, or providing a European - or even global - rule or recommendation for recognition of foreign insolvency & restructuring decisions).

Congress Focus: The danger of Cyber-Attacks

As the final panel on the Friday afternoon of the Dubrovnik Annual Congress, the Anti-Fraud Forum had the pleasure of enlightening the crowd with its views on cybersecurity and, more specifically, the danger of cyberattacks.

Co-Chairs Carmel King (Grant Thornton, UK) and Bart Heynickx (Altius, Belgium) had requested Vijay Rathour, a partner in Grant Thornton’s forensic and investigations practice (UK), and the lead in its digital forensics group, to share his views.

The panel explained that law firms are often under attack, as they hold interesting client data, and also because changing details in contracts (such as payment information or bank accounts numbers) might result in payments not reaching the intended beneficiary but rather the fraudster. The outcome of such attacks is not always easy to predict. The criminals in question are hard to find and often hide in countries that are not easily accessible. Investigations need close, international cooperation based on common regulations. Such a framework is not always fully present.

Ransomware was also discussed. If a payment is made to cybercriminals, then there is no certainty that these criminals will (i) release the data to the company in question, (ii) not use the data for their own benefit or still sell it, and/or (iii) not attack the same victim again. Cases of “triple dipping” are known in which victims that have paid-off the fraudsters are easy pickings for the latter again and are thus likely to be attacked once more… 

The panel thus revealed that we, once again, live in a terrifying world and that remedies are scarce. Vijay came up with the (not so socially acceptable) advice to “trust no-one”. Clearly, an organisation is only as strong as its weakest (cyber)link. 

Visit the Anti-Fraud Forum's page on our website for the full report.

Council Elections Update

Now that the process for election onto INSOL Europe’s Council has ended, we can confirm the following updates:

Non-reserved (General) Seats:
Frank Heemann (Lithuania) and Jan Lilius (Finland), both of whom represent the two seats reserved for countries with fewer than 30 members (as per our Constitution), were re-elected for a second term. 

José Carles (Spain) and Noor Zetteler (The Netherlands) were elected to Council for their first term.

Reserved Seats:
Pawel Kuglarz won the new seat for Poland (a new seat as Poland now has more than 30 members). Paul-Dieter Cirlanu was uncontested and automatically won the seat for Romania. Matthias Prior, Michala Roepstorff and Sabina Schellenberg retained their seats on Council for a second term. Evert Verwey chose to stand for the reserved seat for the Netherlands instead of remaining in a non-reserved seat, and was uncontested.

We thanks all candidates for putting themselves forward, and especially to those that have won or retained their seats on Council.

Update on National Insolvency Statistics - Italy

Nicola Martinelli from Studio Corno Avvocati in Italy has summarized the recent statistics focusing on Bankruptcy proceedings, non-bankruptcy insolvency procedures and voluntary liquidation procedures.

Further statistics from Italy can be found on our website and from all jurisdictions on our website here.

Bankruptcy Proceedings: With 2,000 proceedings opened from January to March 2022, bankruptcies proceedings show not only a strong contraction on an annual basis (-21.6% vs 1q 2021) but also one of the lowest levels since 2010. Compared to pre-Covid levels the bankruptcies proceedings decrease of 29,8%. In the first quarter of 2022 bankruptcy proceedings opened in all the main sectors show a decrease: services (-22,4%), construction (-15,4%) and industry (-27%). Such decreases are more significant if compared to pre-Covid levels. Corporations – with 1,514 procedures opened in the first quarter of 2022 – show a year on year decrease of 23.3%, with values far from 2019 (-31,7%). Also partnerships continue to show a decline (-7.7% vs 1q 2021 and -36.7% vs 1q 2019). A reduction in proceedings concerning individual companies has been registered, with 186 procedures opened (-19.5%).
Non-bankruptcy Insolvency Procedures: In the first quarter of 2022 there was a significant reduction in non-bankruptcy insolvency procedures (-53.5% vs 1q 2021). Among the non-bankruptcy procedures opened in the first quarter, composition agreements are confirmed as the most numerous (69), followed by compulsory administrative liquidations (35). Construction field records the most significant reduction (-72,2), while Industry decreases by 56.1% and service companies by 44.1%. Compared to pre-Covid levels all the sectors recorded lower numbers.
Voluntary Liquidation Procedures: From January to March 2022, 13,553 companies opened a voluntary liquidation procedure. Such procedures reduce if compared to the same period of the previous year (-2.6%) and, if compared to pre-Covid levels, a significant reduction (-20.3%). Reduction of 2.6% is mainly caused by voluntary liquidation procedures opened by corporations (-7.8%, 5,672 procedures), only partially compensated by the increase of procedures respectively concerning partnerships (+4.9%) and companies with no balance sheet (+1.6%). Voluntary liquidations are decreasing in the most relevant sectors. With 722 procedures, construction field registered the highest decrease (-11.8%); followed by industry (-1.5%) and services (-8.3%). Compared to pre-Covid levels all the sectors recorded lower numbers.


Academic Conference Report: Insolvency Law in Times of Crisis

The INSOL Europe Academic Forum Annual Conference on the subject of “Insolvency Law in Times of Crisis” took place on 5-6 October 2022 at the Rixos Premium Hotel in Dubrovnik.

Sponsored by Edwin Coe LLP and facilitated by Line Herman Langkjær (Secretary, INSOL Europe Academic Forum; Aarhus University DK), the Annual Conference was attended by 46 delegates from nearly 16 different jurisdictions. 

Highlights of the conference, which also included a reception and dinner, included the delivery on the first day with the Gabriel Moss Memorial Lecture, presented by Professor Jasna Garasić (Zagreb University HR) focusing on “Effects of Foreign Insolvency Proceedings on Pending Arbitral Proceedings According to the European Insolvency Regulation” and the final session on the second day, the Edwin Coe Open Forum – “The Implementation Agora” chaired by Rolef de Weijs (University of Amsterdam NL) consisting of a lively and informal discussion of national implementations of the European Preventive Restructuring Directive.

The conference ended with the introduction of new Academic Forum officers: Rodrigo Rodriguez (Lucerne University) as the new Chair and Jennifer Gant as the new Secretary. In closing, all assembled looked forward to the next Academic Forum Annual Conference taking place in October 2023 in Amsterdam.

An in-depth report, speaker profiles, abstracts and presentation slides have been published on our website here.

Inside Story: A Polish perspective on the Heiploeg Pre-Pack

In Poland, the pre-packaged sale, also called the pre-pack administration, has been possible since 2016, as a result of important amendments to Bankruptcy Law and Restructuring Law – introduced via the Act of 15 May 2015. The pre-pack has grown in popularity, though some pitfalls occurred when two important cases were brought to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), namely Smallsteps (also known as Estro) (C-126/16) and Plessers (C-509/17) cases.

As a consequence of the first case especially, Estro or Smallsteps, the opinion of Polish government was that this required amendments to the Bankruptcy Law provisions regulating pre-packs. Within the legislative process, numerous experts contested this need and presented opinions proving that amendments are not required and they may make the Polish pre-pack less popular for the business. Indeed, after the amendments – introducing direct application of the Article 23[1] of the Polish Labour Code to a bankruptcy sale – the popularity of pre-packs went significantly down, with an estimated decrease of perhaps half of projects.

Read the full article by Mateusz Kalinski (Tatara and Partners, Poland) and previous INSIDE Stories on our website here.

Member Survey Closing Soon!

Your experience as a valued member of INSOL Europe is at the heart of all our activities. We are continuing our research into how well we are meeting the needs and expectations of our members, and how we might change what we offer in the future.

Your feedback is a very important part of this process, so please take 5 minutes to complete our survey and let us know what you think. Your responses are completely anonymous.

> Click here to start our survey

Thank you in advance for your participation! 

Date for your Diary: EECC Conference 2023, Lithuania

We are pleased to announce that plans are well under way for the return of our EECC Conference, to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 19 May 2023. An optional drinks reception will be held on the eve of the conference to welcome the delegates to the beautiful city. Look out for more details coming soon on our website.


We welcome feedback, news and story ideas for future newsletters. 

Please send your suggestions to Paul Newson, CEO & Communications Manager,

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is sent to members of INSOL Europe. No responsibility legal or otherwise is accepted by INSOL Europe for any errors, omissions or otherwise. The opinions expressed in the articles that appear are not necessarily shared by any representative of INSOL Europe.