On 2 December 2015 the draft bill on modernization of bankruptcy proceedings entered into public consultation. The bill is part of the Dutch legislative programme to improve and modernize bankruptcy law, known as Wetgevingsprogramma Herijking faillissementsrecht in the Netherlands.
The purpose of the bill is to achieve a more efficient and transparent procedure for bankruptcy resulting in a more rapid settlement of cases with less costs and higher payments to creditors. To this end, the bill provides the following changes:
- the bankruptcy proceedings will be brought more in line with technological developments and possibilities of the digital age. Provisions that preclude the use of electronic communication will be changed so that meetings can take place over the internet and vital information can be distributed digitally;
- with the aim of improving the management of the assets of the bankrupt and the acceleration of the settlement of the bankruptcy, a tighter deadline for the submission of claims by creditors will be introduced;
- the proposal provides more customization possibilities in bankruptcy. One of those possibilities is that the bankruptcy judge will decide whether and when there will be a creditors’ meeting;
- finally, the proposal contributes to further specialization in the Judiciary and supports the legislative process, through a new advisory Insolvency Board which can advise on bankruptcy policy and application of the Bankruptcy Act in practice.
According to the Minister of Security and Justice, the measures proposed in the context of digitization will connect as much as possible with the KEI programme. For more information about this programme see the previously published blog KEI: Digitization of the justice system.
In line with the KEI programme, the bill will facilitate and promote the use of digital tools during bankruptcy proceedings. Easily accessible digital information will enable creditors to respond more quickly to a bankruptcy of a debtor.
The consultation period runs until 1 March 2016. Reactions to the bill must be given before the consultation period expires. Judges, trustees, lawyers, entrepreneurs and consumers belong to the target group of the proposal, but everyone is free to respond.