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INSOL Europe news and offers

Dear Members

As the world grapples with the profound consequences of environmental degradation, it becomes imperative for scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to examine the potential impact of these catastrophes on insolvency and restructuring trends across Europe. INSOL Europe can serve as a comprehensive repository of leading research, insightful analysis, and practical case studies that address the evolving landscape of insolvency amidst environmental uncertainties.

The spectre of environmental and climate catastrophes looms large over the global community, posing unprecedented challenges to societies, businesses, and economies alike. As extreme weather events intensify, sea levels rise, and biodiversity dwindles, businesses across industries face mounting risks that can lead to financial distress and insolvency. We can anticipate, for example,  increased regulatory scrutiny on environmental compliance as companies confront a complex array of factors that could strain their financial viability.

How does the increased frequency and severity of climate-related events impact the likelihood of insolvency? What role does environmental risk assessment play in determining a company's creditworthiness? How can insolvency and restructuring laws adapt to better accommodate companies navigating environmental uncertainties? These are just a few of the vital questions to explore.

The central theme of our upcoming conference in Amsterdam in October 'Navigating Insolvency with Trust and Integrity' reflects our commitment to fostering discussions that advocate for a sustainable and principled approach to insolvency and restructuring practices.

This highly anticipated event will gather leading experts, practitioners, and scholars to delve into multifaceted issues. Distinguished keynote speakers will share their insights, while panel discussions and workshops will encourage collaborative problem-solving and the exchange of innovative ideas.

You can find the latest information about this event and other news from our community below.

Barry Cahir
President, INSOL Europe


Barry Cahir
President of
INSOL Europe


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DLA Piper is a global law
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Council Elections 2023: Your Opportunity to Join our Council

This is the time of year when we consider retirements from and elections to our Council. 

Countries with 30 or more members are entitled to a reserved seat on Council and in October this year, vacancies will arise for the following seats: Germany, Portugal, UK and Italy. Members from these countries will have received an email requesting nominations for candidates from their country. 

In addition, 1 general (non-reserved) seat will become available, which may be occupied by a member from any country.

Details about the role of Council Members can be found here.

If you have not yet received email notification of the election process, please contact Paul Newson.

Coffee Break Videos: Connecting Minds 2023 – Belgium

Watch the new video from Belgium here

Our Coffee Breaks: Connecting Minds series continues with our popular video conversation format established in 2020 and continued through 2021 and 2022. The latest video in our series is from Belgium featuring Bart De Moor, Ivan Verougstraete, and Frank Taildema. 

This year, the INSOL Europe Country Coordinators will share their experiences with representatives from their local associations and/or other stakeholders, highlighting such reforms as the implementation of the EU Directive on Restructuring and Insolvency in the concerned jurisdictions, challenges of the national insolvency framework to address the current crisis and other key issues in their jurisdiction



Coffee Breaks: Connecting Minds 2023 are brought to you in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its Legal Transition Programme (LTP). The LTP is the EBRD’s initiative to contribute to the improvement of the investment climate in the Bank’s countries of operations by helping create an investor-friendly, transparent and predictable legal environment. This objective is implemented by the Legal Transition Team, a dedicated team of specialised lawyers working across the 38 economies where the EBRD invests. In partnership with:
Joint Conference with R3 attracts record audience in London

The 17th R3 and INSOL Europe International Restructuring Conference held in London on 15 June 2023 was a magnet for restructuring and insolvency professionals with an interest in cross-border matters and all professionals interested in cross-border restructuring and insolvency.

The event, sponsored by Lumon, which took place at the sumptuous venue No.11 Cavendish Square on a red-hot day, was sold out. 110 delegates participated enthusiastically, contributing views from a range of jurisdictions including the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Greece.

One of the many highlights of the day was a panel session on the latest developments from the crypto sector chaired by Henry Page (Mercer & Hole), featuring renowned crypto experts Charles Kerrigan (CMS), Julia Marshall (Alvarez & Marsal Europe) and Allister Manson (Opus Business Advisory Group, UK). Cryptoassets have the potential to bring benefits to financial services and the wider economy but also pose significant risks, given their significant price volatility and associated risk of losses. Effective regulation of cryptoassets should help to foster innovation and maximise any potential benefits of cryptoasset technologies, while also mitigating risks. Insolvency practitioners need to be on the front foot quickly to identify and realise such cryptoassets; failure to do so could materially impact the return to creditors and expose an officeholder to a claim by creditors.

John Willcock, editor of Global Turnaround, interviewed Christopher Farmer of Teneo BVI on his experience at the coalface on the Three Arrows Capital liquidation. Three Arrows conducted a high-profile and prominent cryptocurrency business as a digital asset hedge fund, reportedly operating assets in excess of US$10bn at one stage. Owing to the volatility in the crypto market the company entered liquidation in June 2022 with significant liabilities. The latest sale saw the company’s collection of NFTs bring in nearly $11 million from a Sotheby’s House auction in New York. Some of the NFTs owned by the collapsed crypto hedge fund were sold privately bringing the figure closer to $17 million.

A full report of the conference by INSOL Europe's Chief Technical Officer, Emmanuelle Inacio, can be read on our website here.

National Insolvency Statistics Update: The Netherlands

In the period from 2010 to 2020, compared to the period from 2007 to 2009, a relatively large number of companies went bankrupt, reports Alice Van der Schee from Van Benthem & Keulen B.V. (Utrecht, The Netherlands), INSOL Europe Vice President, Country Coordinator and Amsterdam Congress Technical Committee Co-Chair.

The number of declared bankruptcies was at its highest in May 2013 (1,185). After that, the number of bankruptcies gradually decreased until August 2017. Source: key figures CBS inz. bankruptcies.

The trend then remained fairly flat until mid-2020, after which the number of monthly bankruptcies declared decreased, presumably due to government support to mitigate the impact of the Covid crisis. In February 2021, the monthly number of bankruptcies reached its lowest level since December 1990 (162). 

Bankruptcies were also low in 2022 (2,432), but an upward trend is visible. This is probably due to the aftermath of the Covid crisis and increased interest and energy costs. Many SME's are currently obliged to pay old tax debts, that were rolled over during Covid. Moreover, companies are currently struggling to find suitable employees, consumer confidence is relatively low and investing in sustainability is quite a challenge. It is notable that, for the time being, small and medium-sized companies in particular are struggling to cope with these setbacks.

As of 1 January 2021, the Dutch bankruptcy law has been extended with the Act on Homologation of Private Arrangements (WHOA). Under this, the court can approve (homologate) a private agreement between a company and its creditors, if it can prevent the debtor's bankruptcy. In 2021, 41 agreements were homologated by courts. In 2022, there were 28. No numbers are yet available for 2023. 

Further statistics from The Netherlands and from other jurisdictions can be found on our website here.


The EU Harmonisation Proposal in Austria: No thank you?

A little more than two years after the initiative was announced, the European Commission published its proposal for a Directive harmonising certain aspects of insolvency law on 7 December 2022.

The feedback from Austrian stakeholders so far has been mixed, to say the least, with one Austrian association for creditor protection – essentially watchdog entities participating in every Austrian insolvency proceeding – heading their press release with “No, thank you! EU Insolvency Directive to the Detriment of Austria”. 

A particular opinion among Austrian stakeholders, regarding the proposed simplified procedure for micro-enterprises, is that there are significant issues. This criticism is particularly vehement, given that a large proportion of corporate insolvencies in Austria would potentially be affected by this. Statistics indicate that 90% of debtors in Austrian insolvency proceedings concerning business entities would qualify as micro-enterprises (i.e. enterprise which employs fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million), which would make the proposed simplified proceedings likely to become the most widely used insolvency regime.

Under the Proposal, the objective for simplified proceedings is to ensure that “micro-enterprises, even those with no assets, are wound up in an orderly manner, using a swift and cost-effective proceeding”. 

In a commendable effort to reduce the costs of insolvency proceedings for micro-enterprises, the Commission has identified insolvency administrators as the biggest cost driving factor. It suggests that, in most cases, the lack of complexity of micro-enterprise proceedings does not warrant appointing an insolvency administrator. Consequently, Article 39 of the Proposal provides that insolvency administrators may only be appointed upon an application by either the debtor or a creditor and only if either the insolvency estate can fund the costs of the intervention of the insolvency administrator or the party requesting the appointment of an insolvency administrator bears the costs. 

Look out for a full report in the Summer edition of Eurofenix on how the procedure proposed by the Commission for micro-enterprises is a significant downgrade of the existing procedural system in Austria by Susanne Fruhstorfer and Andreas Howadt, of TaylorWessing in Vienna.

Read the latest edition of Eurofenix here. The Summer edition will be available early July.

UNCITRAL: The Creation and Development of Insolvency Norms 

The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in a resolution on 15 December 1997. To date, the Model Law has been adopted by an ever-growing number of countries, counting some 58 state members representing 61 jurisdictions in total. 

In the context of the quest for international regulation, the adoption of the Model Law by UNCITRAL represents for many the most important step taken in the emergence of a truly international framework for co-operation in insolvencies. This is not to denigrate the many excellent initiatives at regional level that continue to flourish, such as the European Insolvency Regulation (Recast), early work on whose predecessors influenced the shape of the UNCITRAL text. Nonetheless, UNCITRAL’s reputation as a consensus builder and its work on many successful international texts has done much to ensure that this text genuinely represents the views and expectations of stakeholders. 

Dr Jennifer L. L. Gant (Lecturer, University of Derby) and Paul Omar, (Technical Research Coordinator, INSOL Europe) provide background on Working Group V, where the work on insolvency is now situated, in this month's Inside StoryRead all past Inside Stories on our website here.


Young Members sail away to Seville for Joint Conference

In beautiful, yet hot Seville, the joint conference of the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) and INSOL Europe’s Young Members Group (YMG) – took place from 29 June to 1 July 2023. Mateusz Kaliński, LL.M. (Tatara & Partners, Krakow/Warszaw) reports for INSOL Europe.

The conference was a further joint event between both organisations, following on from the seminar in Mallorca in 2019. 

The eve of the conference saw participants gather for a welcome reception and networking dinner. The first day of the programme, on Friday 30 June, was full of interesting panels and discussions, beginning with the opening and welcome speech by Álvaro Fernández Sánchez del Corral and keynote speech by Judge Amanda Cohen Benchetrit touching on the issues of the latest EC Proposal for a directive harmonizing certain aspects of insolvency law. Later that day, panels covered perspectives on business opportunities, the development of pre-insolvency proceedings, the impact of new challenges and crises as well as a role-playing interaction between participants mimicking negotiations, court motions or group strategy.

The second day, Saturday 1 July, began with a roundtable on confidentiality in pre-insolvency proceedings, followed by other panels on insolvency-related litigation issues and sharing practical observations on the impact of crises on restructuring options. A social programme occupied the afternoon with a chance to visit Seville landmarks, such as the Real Alcázar.

The smooth organisation of the conference was entirely due to the efforts of the organizing committee helped by generous support from the sponsors. In total, the event was attended by approximately 70 lawyers from across the world, which allowed for the exchange of information and sharing of experience from a truly international perspective. The YMG of INSOL Europe plans to continue cooperation with AIJA’s Insolvency Commission, so future events will be on the horizon.

Visit our website for more information about the INSOL Europe Young Member Group

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2023 Academic Conference: Now only 3 months to go!

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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.