Interpreting the Pari Passu Clause in Sovereign Bond Contracts: It’s All Hebrew (and Aramaic) to Me

In this comment, we take a helicopter tour of the history of notions of “equality” and “justice” in sovereign debt restructuring in particular, and in the division of property more generally, and show that these concerns have existed for centuries, if not millennia. We argue that the issue at stake in the interpretation of the pari passu clause is not so much the treatment of holders of identical claims—it is now customary to treat them identically—but whether the holders of different claims should be treated differently. We show that exists a customary “principle of differentiation” that allows creditors with claims that differ in specific ways to be treated preferentially. One of these specific differences concerns debts that have been reduced in value during a previous debt restructuring or default, and based on this principle we conclude that the New York court has, if not completely misinterpreted the meaning of the pari passu clause, then at least misapplied it. Read more

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About AIWMI

The Association of International Wealth Management of India (AIWMI) is a not-for-profit organization and a globally recognized membership association for finance professionals. AIWMI primarily focuses on the broad and strategic role of developing a more robust and forward-looking training infrastructure for the financial services sector and to promote more active industry involvement and collaboration in training and continuing education. AIWMI is offering advanced international certification programs along with a wide variety of high-quality executive education programs. AIWMI programs combine state-of-the-art knowledge and skills with practical experience and insights into the functioning of the financial sector. All AIWMI courses and educational events have an intense and pragmatic curriculum. Participants are exposed to the latest developments within the financial services sector. AIWMI plays a key role in guiding the development of the financial services sector. AIWMI works with key industry participants’ viz. the Government, the Regulators, the Industries/Associations, the Corporate, the Media and the General Public to achieve its objectives. Besides enhancing technical competence and professionalism in the industry, AIWMI organizes events and facilitates discussions to promote best practices in leadership and talent development in the financial sector with an aim to become Asia’s premier center of excellence for financial education.

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