Bankruptcy Law--A Guide to Resources

This guide briefly introduces the major sources of bankruptcy law and commentary.


Bankruptcy law falls under federal jurisdiction.  This libguide will focus on federal primary sources of law as well as relevant secondary literature.

Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start – by liquidating assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation.

Bankruptcy cases are handled exclusively by federal courts.  Most of the 94 districts have separate bankruptcy courts, which serve as the trial courts in bankruptcy matters.  Decisions of the bankruptcy courts may be appealed to the appropriate United States Courts of Appeal.  The United States Supreme Court, at its discretion, may act as the court of last resort in bankruptcy matters.   

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts maintains forms, rules, and educational materials on bankruptcy.

The Federal Judicial Center website includes a brief history of the U.S. bankruptcy system, as well as a variety of documents and multimedia resources on bankruptcy.