For over a century, the doctrine of ‘comity’ has been a prominent feature of US cross-border commercial law. The term is essentially shorthand for the idea that US courts typically afford respect and recognition (i.e., enforcement) within the US to the judgment or decision of a non-US court – so long as that decision comports with those notions of ‘fundamental fairness’ that are common to American jurisprudence.
In the bankruptcy context, ‘comity’ forms the backbone for significant portions of the US Bankruptcy Code’s Chapter 15. Chapter 15 – enacted in 2005 – provides a mechanism by which the administrators of non-US bankruptcy proceedings can obtain recognition of those proceedings, and further protection and assistance for them, inside the US.
But in at least some US Bankruptcy Courts, ‘comity’ only goes so far. In 2010, US Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Argesti, of Pennsylvania’s Western District, offered his understanding of where ‘comity’ stops – and where US bankruptcy proceedings begin. His decision – and two others issued only weeks earlier – afford important indicators of comity’s use, and limits, in US Bankruptcy Courts.
This 2010 article is accessible here. Republished by kind permission of Chase Cambria Company (Publishing) Ltd.