Forthcoming in University of Illinois Law Review, symposium issue on “Consumer Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in the Wake of the 2005 Act”


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 an historical context and perspective. The article identifies and highlights the “top twenty” consumer bankruptcy issues in the development 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 paper looks briefly at the moral aspect of consumer bankruptcy, viewed through an historical lens.


Law and Economics

Date of this Version

November 2005