Under Bankruptcy Rules, an adversary proceeding may be filed in a debtor’s bankruptcy action for certain specific reasons. Creditors may initiate adversary proceedings to determine the validity or priority of a lien, to determine the validity of a debt, to obtain an injunction, or to subordinate a claim of another creditor.
Whenever there is an actual dispute, other than an adversary proceeding, before the bankruptcy court, the litigation to resolve that dispute is a contested matter. For example, the filing of an objection to a proof of claim, to a claim of exemption, or to a disclosure statement creates a dispute that is a contested matter. Even when an objection is not formally required, there may be a dispute. If a party in interest opposes the amount of compensation sought by a professional, there is a dispute that is a contested matter.
Discharging a debt in bankruptcy means that the debt is eliminated or wiped out. However, not all types of debts can be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.
The Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) was designed to create a new form of liquidation proceeding. SIPA created the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a nonprofit, private membership corporation to which most registered brokers and dealers are required to belong. The SIPC fund constitutes an insurance program. The fund is designed to protect the customers of brokers or dealers subject to SIPA from loss in case of financial failure of the member. The fund is supported by assessments upon its members.
The treatment of tax debts in bankruptcy proceedings is an attempt to reconcile two conflicting policies. The first policy concerns the government’s interest in collecting taxes. The second policy concerns the fresh start that bankruptcy is to give honest debtors. Under the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor’s ability to discharge any tax debt is based upon the classification of that particular tax debt.