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What You Should Know About Bankruptcy Appellate Panel

Bankruptcy Appellate Panel

Ideally, bankruptcy court proceedings will work to the benefit of debtors and creditors, allowing the former to maximize the value of their possessions and cancel out their debts, and the latter to recoup as much money as possible given the previous inability of debtors to repay what they owe. Just as well, either the lenders or bankrupt parties may find that justice was not served in a ruling by the bankruptcy court judge. In this instance, and especially for bankrupt individuals, there is recourse available for a given decision.

Following a hearing in bankruptcy court, the logical next step is a bankruptcy appellate panel (BAP). Although not an institution in all circuits, bankruptcy appellate panels have an important function in those regions that do include it. Some notes on the use of bankruptcy appellate panels in American history:

In terms of the creation of a special division to handle appeals after an initial bankruptcy court finding, the origins of appellate panels for this purpose lie in previous amendments to bankruptcy law enacted in the last 30 years. Bankruptcy appellate panels are presided over by three bankruptcy judges who also serve their jurisdictions on a regular basis. As with any bankruptcy court, these appellate panels are guided to a large extent by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

However, as BAPs are a branch of the U.S. Court of Appeals system, they are also subject to the constraints of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Of a potential added benefit to bankrupt petitioners, individual court rules also will impact a case or motion upon appeal to a BAP.

It should be noted that appeals do not necessarily need to follow the progression from bankruptcy court to appellate panel and so on and so forth. Following a summary judgment out of their favor, bankrupt individuals may elect to file their motion of appeal with a district court instead of a bankruptcy appeal court. From there, appeals made by a district court go to the circuit court, or in some instances, will go directly from bankrupt court to the circuit court of appeals.

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