The Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) is the headquarters office of the U.S. Trustee Program (USTP). The EOUST determines national policies, priorities, and litigation positions; oversees overall operations in the USTP’s 21 regions consisting of 90 field offices nationwide; and supervises the regional U.S. Trustees. The EOUST is led by a Director, whose authority is derived from the Attorney General.
The USTP was created as a pilot program in 18 judicial districts under the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. In 1986, through the Bankruptcy Judges, United States Trustees, and Family Farmer Bankruptcy Act, Congress expanded the USTP to cover all judicial districts (except those in Alabama and North Carolina). U.S. Trustees are appointed by the Attorney General to oversee the USTP’s 21 regions (defined in statute) and their duties are set forth in titles 11 and 28 of the United States Code. In addition to specific statutory duties and responsibilities, U.S. Trustees “may raise and may appear and be heard on any issue in any case or proceeding under [title 11]. . . .” 11 U.S.C. § 307.
The mission of the USTP is to promote the integrity and efficiency of the bankruptcy system for the benefit of all stakeholders—debtors, creditors, and the public. The USTP achieves its mission through administrative, regulatory, and litigation and enforcement activities.
The major functions of the EOUST are to:
- Provide leadership, central policy and management direction, and administrative and information technology services to the USTP’s field offices.
- Develop national priorities, enforcement strategies, and performance measures.
- Coordinate the USTP’s litigation activities and provide legal counsel to its field offices.
- Collect, evaluate, and disseminate data on the USTP’s operations.
- Approve and monitor credit counseling agencies and debtor education providers that offer statutorily required services to individual debtors.
- Designate individual chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases for audit.
The major functions of the USTP’s field offices are to:
- Enforce compliance with bankruptcy law, including by identifying and redressing fraud and abuse by debtors, creditors, professionals, and other parties in the bankruptcy process.
- Appoint and oversee approximately 1,200 private trustees who administer chapters 7, 12, and 13 bankruptcy cases and distribute billions of dollars in assets each year to ensure cases are administered promptly and efficiently.
- Oversee and act in chapter 11 business reorganization cases to ensure management accountability, appropriateness of professional fees, and progression toward financial rehabilitation.
- Preside at or oversee “section 341” meetings of creditors held in all bankruptcy cases.
- Identify and refer cases of potential criminal wrongdoing to law enforcement, including the U.S. Attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and assist in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases as needed.
- Participate in appeals to bankruptcy appellate panels, district courts, circuit courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Carry out other statutorily prescribed administrative, regulatory, and enforcement responsibilities to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the bankruptcy system.
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