'n Vergelyking van die oorgrens–insolvensiewetgewing van Suid–Afrika met die van die Verenigde State van Amerika
Fourie, Etienne Gerhard
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Due to economic globalisation and integration, as well as the global economic downturn since 2008, the appearance of cross-border insolvencies have increased dramatically. This increase in cross-border insolvencies has led to a demand for a general and fair system to administer cross-border insolvencies globally. In 1997 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) promulgated the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency to act as an aide to countries in globally administering cross-border insolvencies in a uniform way. South Africa, and the United States of America (USA), subsequently accepted this Model Law approach into their respective national legislation. South Africa did this through the Cross-Border Insolvency Act 42 of 2000 (CBIA) and the USA by way of Chapter 15 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The CBIA is, however, not currently in operation as the Minister of Justice has not yet designated countries to which the CBIA will apply. Chapter 15 is, however, effective and operational in the USA. The two theories that underlie cross-border insolvencies – universalism and territorialism – have been further refined in the theories of modern universalism and modern territorialism. Supporters of modern universalism hailed the acceptance of the Model Law into the national legislation of countries as a victory over modern territorialism as the characteristics of modern universalism can be found throughout the Model Law. Modern universalism is, however, seen as theory which endangers the interests of local creditors as it favours universal administration of assets. However, modern territorialism is, on the other hand, acknowledged to protect the interests of local creditors. Therefore an investigation into the application of Chapter 15 by the courts of the USA will indicate if the interests of local creditors are sufficiently protected under this so-called modern universalistic approach and, if indeed so, how this is achieved. As the CBIA is neither operational nor effective in South Africa, cross-border insolvencies are governed by the common law and the precedents set down in case law. Writers and case law indicate that South Africa uses a system that can be described as between pure territorialism and modern territorialism. It can therefore be accepted that South Africa currently protects the interests of its local creditors sufficiently. The question then arises if, when South Africa made the CBIA effective and operational, would local creditors‟ interests still be sufficiently protected? As the CBIA and Chapter 15 are both based on the Model Law, they are basically identical in most aspects. Therefore an investigation into the application of Chapter 15 will also indicate if the CBIA will sufficiently protect the interests of local creditors. This dissertation thus attempts, through an investigation of the applications lodged under Chapter 15, to indicate that the USA still succeeds in protecting the interests of its local creditors. The USA achieves this through utilising mechanisms made available through Chapter 15 itself. Consequently this dissertation shows that South Africa can make the CBIA operational, while still sufficiently protecting the interests of its local creditors.
- Law