United States: Courts, Cooperation, And More: A Review Of Cross-Border Insolvency Protocols

In Short

The Situation: For cross-border insolvency matters, parties increasingly depend on court-approved protocols to assist in the management of complex insolvencies involving a debtor or debtors whose assets, liabilities, or operations span international borders.

The Action: Courts in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and some U.S. bankruptcy districts have implemented Guidelines for Communication and Cooperation between Courts in Cross-Border Insolvency Matters.

The Overview: Protocols introduced during the past 15 years tend to include similar procedural and administrative provisions, mostly designed to promote efficient and effective case management.

In cross-border restructuring cases, including cases under chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and versions of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency enacted in 42 other nations or territories, interested parties increasingly rely on court-approved insolvency protocols to aid in managing complex insolvencies involving debtor(s) whose assets, liabilities, or operations span international borders. These protocols facilitate communication between U.S. and foreign courts and standardize certain common procedures, while simultaneously protecting each nation's sovereignty.

Earlier this year, courts in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and certain U.S. bankruptcy districts formally implemented Guidelines for Communication and Cooperation between Courts in Cross-Border Insolvency Matters designed, among other things, to improve the effectiveness of cross-border restructuring protocols. Such protocols, which generally have a common, recognized structure, apply to private-sector cross-border restructurings or insolvencies, as distinguished from sovereign or public-sector restructurings, which are more sui generis and variable.

A recent survey of protocols implemented during the past 15 years indicates that although protocols can vary in certain case-specific content, each protocol contains similar procedural and administrative provisions designed to promote efficient and effective case management. Common provisions include, among other things, the following.


Protocols begin with a brief overview of the parties bound by the protocol, the courts involved, pending insolvency proceedings regarding the debtor(s), and any additional relevant information on the general corporate structure of the debtor(s).

Purpose and Goals

Protocols establish the premise for their creation and outline the goals the parties hope to achieve. The parties will articulate how courts will coordinate, recognize each other's orders under principles of comity, efficiently administer the cases, and establish a framework of general principles to address basic administrative issues that are involved in complex cross-border cases.

Comity and Independence of Courts

Because insolvency laws are not standardized across international borders, protocols will devote a section to recognizing each relevant jurisdiction's independence. The protocol will outline the substantive law that is not addressed by the protocol and emphasize that the protocol is not intended to modify any jurisdiction's sovereignty or jurisdiction.


Protocols will provide rules or guidelines on how the parties and courts involved should work together to effectively administer the insolvency proceedings. Although a protocol may include broad language requiring the parties to take reasonable steps to coordinate the administration of the cases, the protocol can also include more specific instructions, such as the requirement that the courts involved regularly communicate with each other or hold joint hearings on certain issues.

Recognition of Stays of Proceedings

Each court involved will recognize the injunctions or stays arising under each country's respective laws. Protocols usually preserve the rights of interested parties to challenge the applicability of any stay before another tribunal. Some protocols may even allow the courts to consult with each other as to the applicability of the stay on a particular issue.

Right to Appear and Be Heard

Standing provisions are common. These provisions may confer standing to be heard upon parties in multiple jurisdictions, subject to applicable local rules and regulations. However, a foreign court typically will not have personal jurisdiction over individual members of a creditors' committee even if the committee itself has standing in a foreign court.

Retention and Compensation of Representatives and Professionals

Protocols typically confirm that the adjudication of compensation of professionals, monitors, or representatives is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the appointing court.


To ease case administration, each protocol sets forth standard notice procedures governing the insolvency proceedings.

Effectiveness and Modification

Each protocol states that it is binding only if approved by the relevant courts. A protocol also notes whether it can be modified in specific instances. Typically, an amendment or supplement requires the approval of each court involved after notice and a hearing.

Procedures for Resolving Disputes

Protocols contain language requiring the parties to petition one (or all) of the courts involved to resolve disputes. Additionally, a protocol may instruct courts on the procedures they should follow to resolve disputes, such as by consulting with the other court(s), entering a binding decision after consultation, or holding joint hearings with the other court(s).

Preservation of Rights

A protocol often expressly limits its effect on specified parties.

* * *

In addition to these standard provisions, protocols may include case-specific provisions, such as rules governing distributions to creditors in each jurisdiction and confidentiality provisions to be enforced across international borders.

Two Key Takeaways

  1. Cross-border insolvency protocols specify similar procedural and administrative provisions designed to facilitate case management, establishing a framework of principles addressing administrative issues involved in complex cases.
  2. Common provisions include sections recognizing each relevant jurisdiction's independence, rules on how the parties and courts should work together, acknowledgments of the injunctions or stays arising under each country's respective laws, and similar stipulations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.