The Top Twenty Issues in the History of Consumer Bankruptcy

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 dramatically altered the system of consumer bankruptcy in the United States. In the wake of that landmark legislation, this article seeks to provide a historical context and perspective. The article identifies and highlights the “top twenty” consumer bankruptcy issues in the develop-ment of the Anglo-American bankruptcy tradition. These issues are grouped into the following broad categories: (1) who is eligible for bankruptcy relief; (2) what assets does the debtor get to keep; (3) what future income is shielded; and (4) who decides and how. Finally, the article looks briefly at the moral aspect of consumer bankruptcy, viewed through an historical lens.

The full text of this Symposium is available to download as a PDF.