The Rhetoric of Insolvency Law

Posted: 19 Jan 2009

Date Written: January 16, 2009


In this article the author explores the rhetoric and reception of terms of art used in insolvency law over the past 500 years. By examining the contemporary and evolving use of terminology in insolvency law, in particular by examining the use of the term bankruptcy, the author highlights a long history of negative use and perception that continues to percolate through into modern insolvency practice. In particular the author focuses on the seepage of negative terminology from the position of factual insolvency across into the system of legal rules designed to deal with that insolvent estate, namely the law of insolvency.

Keywords: insolvency, debtor, creditor, terms of art, rhetoric, imprisonment, punishment,

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Tribe, John Paul, The Rhetoric of Insolvency Law (January 16, 2009). Available at SSRN:

John Paul Tribe (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool ( email )

Brownlow Hill
Liverpool, L69 3BX
United Kingdom

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