Role of the Bankruptcy Judge and Trustee

A bankruptcy judge may decide any matter connected with a bankruptcy case, such as eligibility to file or whether a debtor should receive a discharge; however, much of the bankruptcy process is administrative. In cases under chapter 7 or 13, this administrative process is carried out by a case trustee appointed by the United States Trustee, to oversee the case.

A debtor's involvement with a bankruptcy judge is usually very limited. Typically, the chapter 7 debtor will not appear in court and will not see the bankruptcy judge. A chapter 13 debtor may only have to appear before the bankruptcy judge at a hearing confirming the debtor's plan to pay the debts owed to their creditors.

Except as permitted by law, debtors, all parties in interest, or employees of a party in interest shall refrain from ex parte meetings and communications with the judge/court concerning matters affecting a particular case or proceeding per Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 9003(a).