Author:Roderick J. Wood
Profession:Faculty of Law. University of Alberta

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There are some who think that insolvency law is a narrow and technical topic. They are wrong. The breadth of its domain is quite astounding. A salient characteristic of insolvency law is that it cuts across almost every field of private law. The rights that are created in these other fields of private law can no longer be vindicated in the usual forum through the ordinary civil process once insolvency proceedings are commenced. Instead, the rights are enforced through the insolvency proceedings, and in some cases the nature and characteristics of the rights are significantly transformed. The impact of insolvency law on social and economic conditions both within Canada and worldwide is equally breathtaking. The fate of the Canadian blood supply system, the future of our national airlines, the recovery afforded to victims of institutional abuse, and the survival of entire communities have all hung in the balance. If by "technical" what is meant is that insolvency law is sometimes difficult, well then that will be conceded. But who would reasonably think that it could be otherwise?

One method of organizing a book on insolvency law is to include chapters that discuss the effects of insolvency law on particular kinds of legal relationships. This would entail separate chapters dealing with bankruptcy and family law, bankruptcy and landlord-tenant law, and the like. The weakness of this mode of organization is that the animating principles of insolvency law tend to fade into the background. I have chosen to organize this book in a way that will illuminate the structure of insolvency law, its aims and objectives, and its foundational principles. This means that if you want to learn about the effect of insolvency on a landlord-tenant relationship you must go to Chapter

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5 to find out about the effect of bankruptcy on a landlord’s right to dis-train, Chapter 9 to know about the proof and ranking of the landlord’s claim, and Chapters 6 and 13 to study the disclaimer of leases. This inconvenience is more than justified. A focus on the underlying principles of insolvency law permits us to see how these principles work in a variety of different situations and contexts. This, in turn, gives us a deeper understanding of their nature and operation.

One limitation of this book is that it assumes that the private law rules and principles that interact with insolvency law are derived from a common law system. With regret, I came to the...

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