How can I find legislative materials related to bankruptcy?
First, take a look at our general legislative history answer.
The best tools for legislative history work are often Proquest Congressional and Proquest Legislative Insight.
You will have the best luck in the Proquest databases by searching for the amending acts that relate to the specific section of the Bankruptcy Code in which you are interested.
- You can locate these acts by finding the section of the Bankruptcy Code that you care about. One way to do this is to browse the code.
- Then look at the credits/history section (usually located at the end of the statutory text) that supplies the citations to the Public Laws that have created or amended the codified section.
- For example, take a look at 11 U.S. Code § 1102. The first Public Law listed at the end is the act that was passed that established this section. The subsequent ones are the ones that amended it in some way. Identify which ones you care about.
- Then use those Public Law numbers in Proquest to locate the legislative histories for the act(s) you want. In these, you can locate hearings, reports, bill versions, etc.
For example: Section 1101 of the Bankruptcy Code shows the following in the Credits section: Pub.L. 95-598, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2626. You can then search Legislative Insight using 95-598 to get the history of that act.
We recommend starting with Legislative Insight, and then moving to Congressional if you don't find what you need in the first one. Insight is a little more user-friendly, but it has slightly different content than Congressional, so you may have to search in both places.
Finally, look to see if there are any published legislative histories of the Bankruptcy Code, or the specific sections you care about. Published histories are available in book or article form, so we suggest checking our catalog and the Index to Legal Periodicals or the Westlaw/Lexis journals databases to see if anyone has done the work for you. For example, there's a bankruptcy library on Hein that actually includes legislative histories of various parts of the Bankruptcy Code.