New amendments are made to bankruptcy rules about once each year. These rules, called the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, regulate the way that bankruptcy cases are handled throughout the country and in individual states. 

The new rules put into place to address problems noticed by an Advisory committee that includes bankruptcy attorneys and federal judges. The Supreme Court eventually makes the amendments law and they can be disapproved by Congress.

Federal Rule Changes

Most of the rule changes being applied this year are related to the way appeals are handled and the electronic filing of bankruptcy cases. Here are the most important rule changes to be aware of.

  • Rule 3002: This rule changes the way payments are handled in a consumer case, specifically the ones involving home equity lines of credit.
  • Rule 5005: Changes to this rule require electronic filing whenever possible. Since most people already file electronically anyway, this change is more or less a formality.
  • Rule 7004(a): This rule change applies to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 which makes adjustments to pick up cross-references.
  • Rule 7062: This rule addresses the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62 advisory proceedings. The stay of proceedings to enforce a judgment is now only 14 days for adversary proceedings instead of the 30 days that applies in a district court case.
  • Rule 8002: This rule change clears up the time requirements required for filing a notice of an appeal.
  • Rule 8006: Due to this change, bankruptcy courts can file a statement based on the virtues of direct certification to the appeals court in cases where parties make a joint certification.
  • Rule 8007 and 8010: These rule changes do away with the use of the term “supersedes bond” and require the use of the words “security provided to obtain a stay of judgment” when referring to changes in the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.
  • Rules 8011, 8013, 8015, 8016, and 8022: This grouping of rule changes limits the size of briefs to specific word counts as opposed to using page limits.
  • Rule 8017: This revision addresses court briefs and how they can possibly affect a judge’s disqualification.
  • Rule 8018.1: This is a newly added point that gives district judges the authority to handle an appeal of a bankruptcy court judgment in cases where the district court decides the bankruptcy court had no constitutional authority to make a judgment.
  • Rule 9025: This revision shows the different types of security that are available for appeals and appeal providers.

Hawaii Specific Rule Changes

  • Chapter 13 Interest Rate: The standard interest rate is set on June 1 and December 1 every year. On and after December 1st of 2018 the interest rate applied to Chapter 13 cases filed in Hawaii will be 6.75%.

The federal rule changes can be viewed in their entirety here. The amendments to the rules that govern bankruptcy law start on page 141 of the document. It’s best to make yourself familiar with these rules now so that you know what to expect as they take effect.