Survey of the United States Bankruptcy System

Learn about the Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy courts and their authority, and the structure and basic lifecycle of a bankruptcy case.


The United States Constitution commits bankruptcy exclusively to Congress. To that end, bankruptcy law resides in Title 11 of the United States Code, better known as the Bankruptcy Code.

I. Relationship between Bankruptcy Law and State Law

Because the Bankruptcy Code is federal law, it supersedes any contrary state law. Accordingly, the Bankruptcy Code's provisions restraining creditor conduct and discharging debts will override any state law that would otherwise permit creditors to enforce...