Certifying questions of law from bankruptcy courts to the Delaware Supreme Court

Under Article IV, Section 11, paragraph 8 of the Delaware State Constitution, the Delaware Supreme Court can entertain and respond to certified questions of law from federal district and appellate courts, and state supreme courts, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission. For now, however, bankruptcy judges aren’t able to engage in that certification process.

At a conference held at Widener on April 16, however, a panel of state court and bankruptcy court judges tossed around the idea of enabling bankruptcy courts to certify questions of Delaware law to the Delaware Supreme Court. The judges’ reaction, from both sides of the federal/state line, was quite positive. And it looks as if the idea may be on the way to becoming law: Senate Bill 221, introduced in the Delaware General Assembly on May 16, would if adopted be the first step in amending the State Constitution to implement the idea. If adopted in this legislative session ending June 30, it would need to be re-adopted next year by the newly elected General Assembly, in order to become effective.

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