Proposed New and Revised Official Forms and Rules Posted for Comment

By William H. Brown, Academy Editor/Adviser

On August 15, 2013, the Judicial Conference Advisory Committees on Bankruptcy and Civil Rules posted proposed amendments to federal rules and forms, requesting comment from the bench, bar and public by February 15, 2014.  Click here for the proposed amendments, rules committee reports, and other information.

It should be noted that the proposed Official Chapter 13 plan form would not become effective until December 1, 2015, since it is tied to proposed rule changes that can’t become effective before that date.  However, most of the other proposed form changes could become effective December 1, 2014, assuming final approval after the comment period ends.

The transmittal letter from the Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton, Chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure describes the opportunity for public comment:

All comments on these proposed amendments will be carefully considered by the rules committees, which are composed of experienced trial and appellate lawyers, judges, and scholars. Please provide any comments on the proposed amendments, whether favorable, adverse, or otherwise, as soon as possible but no later than February 15, 2014. Comments concerning the proposed amendments may be submitted electronically by following the instructions at <>. Hard copy submissions may be mailed to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Suite 7-240, Washington, D.C., 20544. All comments are made part of the official record and are available to the public.

Members of the public who wish to present testimony may appear at public hearings on these proposals. The Advisory Committees on the Bankruptcy and Civil Rules will hold hearings on the proposed amendments on the following dates:

  • Civil Rules
    • Washington, D.C., on November 7, 2013
    • Phoenix, Arizona, on January 9, 2014
    • Dallas, Texas, on February 7, 2014
  • Bankruptcy Rules and Official Forms
    • Chicago, Illinois, on January 17, 2014
    • Washington, D.C., on January 31, 2014

If you wish to testify, you must notify the Committee at least 30 days before the scheduled hearing.

After the public comment period, the Advisory Committees will decide whether to submit the proposed amendments to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. At this time, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure has not approved these proposed amendments, except to authorize their publication for comment. The proposed amendments have not been submitted to or considered by the Judicial Conference or the Supreme Court.

The proposed amendments would become effective on December 1, 2015, if they are approved, with or without revision, by the relevant Advisory Committee, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Judicial Conference, and the Supreme Court, and if Congress does not act to defer, modify, or reject them. Except as otherwise noted, the revisions to the Official Bankruptcy Forms would become effective on December 1, 2014, if they are approved by the rules committees and the Judicial Conference.

If you have questions about the rulemaking process or pending rules amendments, please contact Jonathan C. Rose, Chief, Rules Committee Support Office, or Benjamin J. Robinson, Counsel, Committees on Rules of Practice and Procedure, at 202-502-1820 or visit the website.


bill_brown20001The Honorable William Houston Brown retired in 2006 as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and he had been designated to sit also in the Middle District of Tennessee, Southern District of Florida, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Kentucky. Judge Brown served a four-year term on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit from 1999 through 2002. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he was Order of the Coif. Judge Brown is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, having served on its Board and Executive Committee, and he is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. He is the author or co-author of several texts, including Bankruptcy Exemption Manual, 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Legislation with Analysis 1st and 2d editions, Bankruptcy and Domestic Relations Manual, The Law of Debtors and Creditors, as well as bankruptcy form books, all published by Thomson West. He is also a principal contributing editor for Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice 3rd, published by Thomson West. Judge Brown prepares a quarterly update of consumer cases for the Federal Judicial Center, which distributes those materials to all bankruptcy judges, and he is a speaker at the Federal Judicial Center’s annual seminars for bankruptcy judges. He also speaks regularly at seminars throughout the United States, on consumer bankruptcy topics. Judge Brown co-authors Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 4th ed., a digital publication, available at Judge Brown also acts as a mediator in bankruptcy-related disputes, has conducted mock trials, and has testified as an expert witness in bankruptcy court proceedings.

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