Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Consumer Bankruptcy After the Fall: United States Law Under S.256

U Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE05-031

Canadian Business Law Journal, Forthcoming

40 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2005  

Charles Jordan Tabb

University of Illinois College of Law


This paper examines the consumer bankruptcy system in the United States after the enactment in April 2005 of S. 256, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The paper was prepared for a workshop on comparative commercial and consumer law at the University of Toronto in the fall of 2005. The bulk of the paper is devoted to a detailed examination of the workings of the means test, the Byzantine new gate-keeping provision that tests whether an individual consumer debtor may proceed with a liquidation bankruptcy case under chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The paper also examines more briefly four other aspects of the revisions to the U.S. consumer bankruptcy system: (1) the creation of entry barriers for a consumer debtor to obtain bankruptcy relief; (2) the weakening of the discharge available to consumer debtors; (3) windfalls to secured creditors; and (4) limitations to the homestead exemption. An Appendix includes a letter that 92 law professors sent to the United States Senate prior to enactment of the bill and which opposed the bill; the author was one of the signatories.

Suggested Citation

Tabb, Charles Jordan, Consumer Bankruptcy After the Fall: United States Law Under S.256. Canadian Business Law Journal, Forthcoming; Canadian Business Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Charles Jordan Tabb (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-2877 (Phone)
217-244-1478 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Abstract Views