Bankruptcy Case Administration
All bankruptcy proceedings are referred to a bankruptcy judge and all related papers, including the original petition, are filed with the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. The United States Bankruptcy Court has its own local rules governing procedures within that court. Any party may request de novo review of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and a proposed final order or judgment by the bankruptcy judge. This is done by filing written objection with the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court within 11 days after service of a copy of any proposed findings, conclusions and order, or judgment. Two groups are principally involved in the administration of bankruptcy cases. They are the United States Trustees and private professionals.
Administrative and Filing Fees
The costs of administering a bankruptcy case are paid prior to any payment to creditors, including priority creditors. Creditors, debtors and other parties in interest all benefit from the efficient administration of bankruptcy cases. Fair and expeditious administration of cases provides quick and often better results for creditors by lowering the estate's administrative costs.
Officers and Trustees
The United States Trustee Program is an executive branch agency within the Department of Justice that is responsible for overall bankruptcy administration in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. The United States Trustee is responsible for the oversight of bankruptcy cases as well as panel and standing trustees and professionals retained in bankruptcy cases. In addition to its oversight function, the United States Trustee may appear and be heard on any issue in any case or proceeding under the Bankruptcy Code.
Private professionals, who are usually attorneys, also assist in the administration of bankruptcy cases either as standing or panel trustees or as professionals retained by the estate. Similar to U.S. Trustee's fees, standing trustees, panel trustees and estate professionals are paid on an administrative priority basis, ahead of any distribution to unsecured creditors. Efficient use of bankruptcy professionals' time results in lower administrative costs. Bankruptcy professionals and trustees also must meet certain conflict of interest requirements under the Bankruptcy Code prior to being retained.
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