As previously reported, in August 2007 the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California proposed amendments to the Bankruptcy Local Rules designed to implement the changes made by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (known as BAPCPA). After taking comments, the final amendments are scheduled to take effect on May 1, 2008.

  • Follow the links for a clean set of the final amended Bankruptcy Local Rules and a redline version showing changes from the current local rules.

Business Bankruptcy Changes. Certain of the amended local rules will affect Chapter 11 corporate bankruptcy cases. These include changes to the rules governing the investment of estate funds, the replacement of a "responsible individual" for a Chapter 11 debtor or debtor in possession, entry of a final decree closing a case, the procedures for bankruptcy appeals, and the general electronic case filing (ECF) procedures. A number of the other revisions are aimed primarily at consumer bankruptcy cases.

Jury Trial Rule Amended. In addition, however, the Bankruptcy Court took this opportunity to modify Bankruptcy Local Rule 9015-2(b), governing jury trials, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down in its September 2007 decision in the In re case. An earlier post entitled "Ordinary Course Preference Case Takes Extraordinary Turn: Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Local Bankruptcy Rule On Jury Trials" gives more details on the decision and its impact.

Conclusion. The changes to the Northern District of California Bankruptcy Local Rules may not be as significant for Chapter 11 cases as those recently proposed in the Southern District of New York or adopted in Delaware, but attorneys practicing in the Northern District of California, and businesses with cases or adversary proceedings pending in that court, should be sure to follow them when they take effect on May 1, 2008.