Units: 0
Level: Upper year

Class Schedule

Prof. Stephanie Ben-Ishai


What happens when countries are unable to pay back the more than $40 trillion they borrow from one another, private creditors and international organizations ("sovereign debt")? How can creditors make countries repay their debts? Do countries have access to debt discharge/forgiveness or a "fresh start"? What is a bankruptcy fresh start and what are the policy issues behind granting one?

This course provides an introduction to bankruptcy policy and the main issues involved in translating domestic bankruptcy procedures (e.g. US Chapter 11 restructuring proceedings or Canadian CCAA restructurings) to the sovereign context. It considers some of the principles by which domestic bankruptcy procedures operate, and the extent to which they can apply to international lending. To this end, we will consider the alternatives to bankruptcy at both the domestic and sovereign levels, and the issues confronted in cross-border insolvencies. Students will have the opportunity to study the details of recent crises that have made headlines in the Canada and all over the world, such as Greece, Argentina and Ukraine.

The course will appeal to students who are interested in issues affecting the global economy as well as students interested in bankruptcy policy more specifically. The course is appropriate for students who have taken Bankruptcy, are taking Bankruptcy or are interested in a taste of bankruptcy policy.

The course will be taught intensively over the January term. Students will have the opportunity to engage in independent research on a particular country and/or policy and offer a brief class presentation. Following the completion of the in-class portion of the course, students will prepare a 10-page paper on their chosen topic.

Teaching Method:


Additional information on the teaching method delivered in this class:

Class presentations, debates, video guests/live guests

Major Paper

Students can complete a major paper in the context of this class.

Materials Used:

Materials to be provided by link to the syllabus.

Method of Evaluation


Other Type of Evaluation:

65% Paper
35% Presentation and Participation


Final Exams:

Exam type: None

Exam duration:

Computerized exam: No


Method of evaluation for graduate students:

Same as above.