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Cross-Border Insolvency and Debt Restructuring Law Reform in Singapore: Reflections on the Hanjin Shipping Case

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: The Singapore Companies (Amendment) Act 2017 introduced the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency into Singapore law. It facilitated the recognition of cross-border insolvency processes in Singapore and introduced new legislative tools to rescue distressed companies. This article analyses specific strengths and limits of the Singaporean cross-border insolvency and debt restructuring reform by reflecting on how the Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd cross-border insolvency case might have been dealt with under Singapore’s new framework. The article suggests that while cross-border insolvency reform might have aided Hanjin Shipping through easier recognition of a foreign insolvency proceeding and enhanced cross-border assistance, debt restructuring law reform may not have been very useful for the company from a practical perspective. Hanjin Shipping was already suffering from a large amount of debt, and a Singapore debt restructuring scheme may not have been recognised by other foreign courts. The findings provide insights into the ways that the limitations of debt restructuring law reform may be addressed, including enhancing cross-border judicial cooperation and reforming a secondary funding market in Singapore.

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