Back in April, the bankruptcy court of the Central District Court of California published a report titled, “Access to Justice in Crisis: Self-Represented Parties and the Court.” Bankruptcy lawyers who noted it focused on the evidence it provided that showed how bad an idea it was to file bankruptcy without experienced legal counsel. The report’s research persuasively showed that going alone led to serious adverse consequences, to say nothing of wasting of judicial resources. However, one aspect the Central District’s report touched on that wasn’t covered was how self-represented creditors fare in the bankruptcy system, and how people filing bankruptcy in Las Vegas can use that knowledge to their advantage. Here are some points:
(1) Self-represented creditors are common in bankruptcy courts, and court staff members help them regularly.
(2) The most frequent situation self-represented creditors appear is when filing claims.
(3) Judges in the Central District report creditors representing themselves in adversary proceedings.
(4) Creditor’s biggest complaints include not understanding that there was a filing deadline to object to the debtor’s discharge or not knowing that a separate adversary action needed to be filed to ensure the creditor maintained his or her rights.
(5) What did not appear in the report was that self-represented creditors violated the automatic stay at unusually high rates.
The last two points are probably the most important ones for those filing bankruptcy in Las Vegas. Just as creditors and courts have difficulties facing self-represented debtors, and just as self-represented debtors wind up with adverse outcomes due to their lack of counsel, so too do self-represented creditors. This isn’t something to bank your case on, and most debtors don’t owe money to creditors that can’t afford lawyers, but if one of your creditors is not represented by counsel, there’s a chance that at best things can go your way with a discharge that could’ve been prevented. At worst the process can take longer as the court accommodates the opposing party’s lack of counsel. Hopefully you will not have to deal with a self-represented creditor who violates the automatic stay.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.