Document Type


Publication Date

February 2020


The decade since the fnancial crisis has witnessed a proliferation of various ‘light touch’ fnancial restructuring techniques in the form of so-called pre-insolvency proceedings. These proceedings inhabit a space on the spectrum of insolvency and restructuring law, somewhere between a pure contractual workout, the domain of contract law, and a formal insolvency or rehabilitation proceeding, the domain of insolvency law. While, to date, international insolvency instruments have tended to defne insolvency proceedings quite expansively, discussion of the cross-border implications of pre-insolvency proceedings has barely begun. The question is whether pre-insolvency proceedings should qualify as proceedings related to insolvency for the purpose of private international law characterization. The risk is overinclusivity of cross-border insolvency law, which, where it is based on universality and unity, might defeat contractual expectations. This article argues, however, that we should be slow to exclude pre-insolvency proceedings from cross-border insolvency law: these proceedings are initiated in the zone of insolvency, their efectiveness depends on a statutory mandate and not purely on private ordering, they interact and intersect with formal proceedings, and can beneft from the unique system developed by cross-border insolvency law. We suggest, though, that modifed universalism (the leading norm of cross-border insolvency) and international insolvency instruments, should, and are able to, adjust to the peculiarities of preinsolvency proceedings to address concerns about inclusivity and accommodate preinsolvency proceedings adequately.