ICAS responds to Covid recovery consultation on topics impacting restructuring and insolvency
ICAS has responded to the Scottish Government’s recently published consultation on supporting Scotland's recovery from coronavirus.
The consultation, entitled Covid recovery: justice system, health and public services reform, focuses on reviewing the legislative powers that have supported the government’s response to Covid.
The consultation is split into chapters inviting views on specific legislative proposals that have the potential to support Covid recovery:
- Proposals for greater public health resilience, to protect Scotland against future public health threats;
- Proposals for public services and justice system reform, to ensure that the benefits of practical modernisations put in place during the pandemic are maintained; and
- Proposals to respond to the impact of Covid in the justice system specifically, where backlogs have unavoidably built up.
The ICAS response relates to topics P2, P3, P4, P5, P8, P12, J1 and J2, being those identified that may directly impact Members and Affiliates, specifically those dealing with restructuring and insolvency.
Those topics relate to:
- Bankruptcy: debt level that enables creditors to pursue the bankruptcy of a debtor through the courts, electronic service of documents, moratoriums on diligence, virtual meetings of creditors.
- Courts: intimation, etc. of documents.
- Legal writings etc.
- Courts and tribunals: conduct of business by electronic means, virtual attendance.
In its response, ICAS emphasises, specifically in relation to the proposed bankruptcy provisions, the importance of striking a balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the creditor. The response also highlights the need to consider the permanency provisions alongside stage 2 of the wider review of statutory debt solutions.
Additionally, ICAS highlights its broad support for the use of technology to modernise and improve processes and the making permanent of any such modernising reforms. The consultation response urges caution in relation to the default position for court attendance to be permitted virtually, highlighting that certain court proceedings would benefit from being excluded from that general provision, such as public and private examinations under the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016, to emphasise the gravity of such proceedings by requiring physical attendance.
Consultation responses are invited before the closing date of 9 November 2021.