The procedural aspects of the bankruptcy
process are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
(often called the “Bankruptcy Rules”) and local rules of each
bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Rules contain a set of official
forms for use in bankruptcy cases. The Bankruptcy Code and
Bankruptcy Rules (and local rules) set forth the formal legal
procedures for dealing with the debt problems of individuals and
There is a bankruptcy court for each
judicial district in the country. Each state has one or more
districts. There are 90 bankruptcy districts across the country.
The bankruptcy courts generally have their own clerk’s offices.
The court official with decision-making
power over federal bankruptcy cases is the United States
bankruptcy judge, a judicial officer of the United States district
court. The bankruptcy judge may decide any matter connected with a
bankruptcy case, such as eligibility to file or whether a debtor
should receive a discharge of debts. Much of the bankruptcy
process is administrative, however, and is conducted away from the
courthouse. In cases under chapters 7, 12, or 13, and sometimes in
chapter 11 cases, this administrative process is carried out by a
trustee who is appointed to oversee the case.