INSOL 2017: Sydney
Even by my standards the current trip was a long haul: I am in Sydney, Australia, for the INSOL Quadrennial Congress. Apart from the chance to visit Australia and come to the conference I am here to speak to a break out session about a project I have been leading for INSOL.
“Office holder remuneration: Some international comparisons” looks at how insolvency office holders are remunerated in fourteen jurisdictions across the world. There are a number of interesting points that have come out of the study: Insolvency Practitioners, or their equivalents, mainly seem to think they are remunerated fairly, at least in developed systems (in some developing countries there is a problem with the job being done properly and thoroughly because of the lack of remuneration for doing so). However, often stakeholders, such as creditors and politicians, often do not agree! Work needs to be done in many jurisdictions to improve stakeholder confidence (so they believe the job is being done properly when that is the case!). The project paper has just been completed and in due course will be available from INSOL if you are interested in the detail. One interesting point that comes out is that the Scottish system of an independent insolvency practitioner reporter, assessing fee applications on behalf of the court, ultimately compares very favourably to other approaches (in terms of fairness and transparency and the ability to evidence these issues).
As usual the congress has many other interesting topics for insolvency lawyers and practitioners alike. There are to be around 900 insolvency professionals here. As well as the business development opportunities (a good portion of our work comes from Non-Scottish law firms). I am looking forward to an extended case study dealing with an Oil & Gas Exploration Company with the need for financial restructuring. Sadly that is very close to home because of the difficulties of the North East Scotland economy (and so is unfortunately very relevant)! There are also to be useful sessions on pursuing fraud claims across jurisdictions; which when you do cross-border work is something that arises reasonably frequently. There is also to be a helpful session where various judges from different jurisdictions give their views on the hot topics of co-operation and jurisdiction (particularly in co-continuous proceedings in separate countries).
There is also an opportunity to meet colleagues (including some that I have dealt with by email and phone but never in person) and do some sightseeing! Just need to get rid of the jet lag ….
Eric Baijal is Head of Insolvency and Restructuring at BBM Solicitors
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