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Bankruptcy: Statutes & Regulations

This guide provides assistance with resources and strategies for bankruptcy law research. The guide was adapted from a bankruptcy guide prepared by Jordan Haygood, a law student reference assistant at Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Laws, Regulations and Procedures

The laws that govern bankruptcy are primarily found in two different sources, namely the United States Code (U.S.C.) and the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).

The U.S.C. contains laws passed by Congress. The C.F.R. contains rules/regulations passed by governmental agencies.

The federal laws governing bankruptcy are found in the United States Code Title 11 and scattered throughout the Code of Federal Regulations.

Bankruptcy proceedings are supervised by and litigated in the United States Bankruptcy Courts. These courts are a part of hte District Courts of the United States. Proceedings in bankruptcy courts are governed by the Bankruptcy Rules, which were promulgated by the Supreme Court under the authority of Congress. 


Researching Statutes

Official Statutes differ from Unofficial Statutes 
Official statutes are the official version of the law as codified. Whereas, unofficial statutes are a commercial product of the statutes with annotations.  Annotations include references to other research resources, such as encyclopedias, A.L.R.s, and treatises, as well as case law that has interpreted, analyzed, and/or discussed a statute.

Statutes and Session Laws
Session laws are the publication of Congressional bills (and resolutions) and state legislation as they are passed by Congress or a state legislature.  Session laws are compiled in chronological order.  Statutes are the laws as they have been codified; i.e., arranged by topic.

Administrative Law Research

Some landmark bankruptcy legislation, such as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, requires execution via federal agency regulations. Agencies are often referred to as "regulatory" agencies, because they are empowered to create and enforce rules/regulations that execute the laws. Individuals and other entities can be fined, sanctioned, and criminally prosecuted for violating federal regulations. The LibGuide below will provide a more thorough explanation of administrative law and assist with the administrative law research process.

Tracking New Regulations

Several web sites allow you to track agency happenings, including rule-making processes, notices in the Federal Register, and agency decisions. Some of these web sites are listed below: - Promotes public participation in the regulatory process. Search proposed rules by agency and then subscribe to e-mail alerts when new notices are added to a regulation's "docket folder." - Provides a user-friendly way to use and search the Federal Register. You can subscribe to RSS feeds by Agency or Topic. For example, you can subscribe to feeds for the topics of Bankruptcy.

Sample History of a Bill becoming a Statute

(image taken from U.S. Dept. of Transportation, http;//

Print Sources

The 2006 edition of the U.S. Code is available in print on the second floor of the Law Library, KF62.A2.  For a  free download of Title 11, see the U.S. House of Representatives downloadable U.S. Code

Electronic Sources

11 U.S.C (Title 11) - Bankruptcy

Chapter 1 - General Provisions

Chapter 3 - Case Administration

Chapter 5 - Creditors, the Debtor, and the Estate

Chapter 7 - Liquidation

Chapter 9 - Adjustment of Debts of a Municipality

Chapter 11 - Reorganization

Chapter 12 - Adjustment of Debts of a Family Farmer or Fisherman with Regular Annual Income

Chapter 13 - Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income

Chapter 15 - Ancillary and Other Cross-Border Cases

Further information can be found on the following sites:

FDSYS Free through GPO.Gov )

HeinOnline (Paid Subscription-Available in Library)

Lexis U.S.C.S. (Paid Subscription; username and password required)

Westlaw U.S.C.A. (Paid Subscription; available in library to public patrons; students and faculty log in to your account)