Should We Abolish Chapter 11? Evidence from Canada
Chapter 11 has been severely criticized over the last decade. Some American jurists arguing in favor of revising Chapter 11 have raised the possibility that the Canadian reorganization system might be a good alternative. This article examines data on firms undergoing reorganization under the Canadian bankruptcy system and argues that there are fruitful lessons to be learned from the Canadian experience with court-supervised reorganization. Canadian reorganization plans have very high rates of acceptance, confirmation, and consummation. Firms in Canada are almost eight times more likely to survive reorganization than are firms in Chapter 11. Further, small firms are just as likely as large firms are to emerge from reorganization in Canada, contrary to experience in the United States. The data also show that Canadian reorganization procedure offers a very rapid solution to financial distress and that creditors gain, in expected value terms, from reorganization over liquidation. We use our analysis of the relative performance of the two systems to suggest some avenues for reform of Chapter 11. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.
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