The bankruptcy judge definition is simple enough: these are the people legally allowed to pass judgments when it comes to bankruptcy petitions. They are the ones who decide whether an individual filing for bankruptcy is indeed bankrupt or simply trying to defraud its creditors to discharge loans.
A bankruptcy judge is often assigned into the position. Understand that unlike other cases, bankruptcy is a federal case and is therefore conducted in the federal court. All Chapters are directed to the bankruptcy court wherein a judge will be appointed to handle your case.
Bankruptcy Judge Roles
Most people think that judges just slam their gavel and make decisions. Understand though that the job is so much more than that. Being the last word when it comes to bankruptcy filing, judges typically have to go through all the information pertaining to the case in order to be sure that the proper action is being taken.
Other roles and responsibilities of a bankruptcy judge include but are not limited to the following:
- Judges ensure that the petitioner meets all the qualifications for bankruptcy declaration. More specifically, they make sure that the individual is filing under the right Chapter;
- Judges are responsible for hearing all the arguments and counterarguments made by the lawyers in behalf of the debtor and creditor;
- Sign off on any petitions or motions done during the course of bankruptcy;
- The judge is essentially the person primarily concerned with the proper implementation of the rules of the court. They are therefore entitled to grant or deny motions, depending on the situation.
Note though that the decision of a bankruptcy judge is not always absolute. After passing upon a decision, debtors and creditors have the right to file an appeal for the said case. In some situations, the appeal is directed to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel or BAP. Procedures in the court are often under the governance of the Federal Rules Bankruptcy Procedure.
Bankruptcy Judge and Others
Bankruptcy judge term typically lasts for 14 years during which, they may be privy to thousands of bankruptcy cases – perhaps even million, depending on the situation. The appointment is made by the United States Court of Appeals.
Note though that judges are just one of the few most important elements in bankruptcy. As a petitioner, the trustee together with the lawyer is possibly your strongest allies. The trustee is responsible for doing most of the legwork, figuring out the total asset and creating a repayment schedule that will prove beneficial to you and the creditor. If you currently filed for bankruptcy, staying in contact with your trustee is crucial.
More often than not, the decisions of the judge will be relayed either to the trustee or your lawyer. Since the judge is purely concerned with the law and how it relates to your situation, it is up to the lawyer and trustee to ensure that the matter is properly translated for the use of the general public. If you will be filing for bankruptcy, it is usually a good idea to know exactly who will be the judge handling your case.