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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

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Debt's Dominion

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ISBN13: 9780691116372
ISBN: 0691116377
Published: January 2004
Publisher: University Presses of California, Columbia and Princeton
Format: Paperback
Price: £22.95



Bankruptcy in America, in stark contrast to its status in most other countries, typically signifies not a debtor's last gasp but an opportunity to catch one's breath and recoup. Why has the nation's legal system evolved to allow both corporate and individual debtors greater control over their fate than imaginable elsewhere?;Probing the political dynamics behind this question, David Skeel provides a complete account of the remarkable journey American bankruptcy law has taken from its beginnings in 1800, when Congress lifted the country's first bankruptcy code right out of English law, to the present day. Skeel shows that the confluence of three forces that emerged over many years - an organized creditor lobby, pro-debtor ideological currents, and an increasinly powerful bankruptcy bar - explains the distinctive contours of American bankruptcy law. Their interplay, he argues, has seen efforts to legislate bankruptcy become a compelling battle royale between bankers and lawyers - one in which the bankers recently seem to have gained the upper hand. Skeel demonstrates, for example, that a fiercely divided bankruptcy commission and the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress have yielded the recent, ideologically charged battles over consumer bankruptcy.;The uniqueness of American bankruptcy has often been noted, but it has never been explained. As different as twenty-first century America is from the horse-and-buggy era origins of our bankruptcy laws, Skeel shows that the same political factors continue to shape our unique response to financial distress.

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