AN ANACHRONISM IN THE BANKRUPTCY RULES

Publication Date01 Oct 1946
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1946.tb01013.x
AuthorW. A. L. Raeburn
274
AN ANACHRONISM
IN
THE
BANKRUPTCY
RULES
‘I
cannot help thinking’ said Lord (then Sir Wilfred)
Greene
M.R.
in
Re
Muscovitch,
Ex
p.
Muscovitch,
[1939]
1
Ch.
694, 696,
that the language of the relevant bankruptcy
rule
(rule
132
of the Bankruptcy Rules,
1915)
is
nowadays
somewhat anachronistic, because
it
was introduced
at
a
time
when procedure was in many important respects different
from what
it
is
now.
If
and when the bankruptcy rules come
up for reconsideration, this rule is one which might well be
considered.
The rule reads
as
follows
:-
132.
Upon entering an appeal,
a
copy of the notice of
appeal shall forthwith be sent by the appellant to the
Registrar of the Court appealed from, who shall mark
thereon the date when received and forthwith file the
same with the proceedings.
At
first
sight this looks
as
commonplace
a
matter of
routine
as
can well be imagined. To appreciate its less
innocent implications
it
is
necessary to bear in mind that
bankruptcy jurisdiction is exercised not only by the High
Court (in Bankruptcy) sitting in Carey Street behind the
Royal Courts of Justice, but also by numerous county courts
all over England. Whether
a
particular bankruptcy takes
place in the High Court
or
in one of these county courts
depends solely on where the debtor resides
or
carries
on
business.
It
makes no difference whether the debts are
€50
or
f50,000,
the powers
of
the county court are (subject
to
a
few limitations that rarely apply) the same within its own
jurisdiction as are those of the High Court itself, and the
duties of the County Court Registrar in bankruptcy matters
are
in
many important respects the same
as
those of the
Bankruptcy Registrars in the High Court. This anomaly is,
however, of comparatively modern origin.
It
dates back
tc
1869,
when by the Bankruptcy Act,
1869,
the old Country
District Courts of Bankruptcy (which with the London
Bankruptcy Court operated directly under the Lord Chancellor)
were abolished and their powers were transferred to the
county courts. At the same time the old London Bankruptcy
Court
under
its
Commissioners gave way to
a
new London
Bankruptcy Court under
a
Chief Judge, which Court was
a

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