A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruling will benefit access to justice for low-income people who seek Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, and the consumer debt attorneys who represent them.

The question in the case was whether a bankruptcy court is allowed to reimburse debtor attorneys who pay certain fees up front on behalf of their clients, and later in the bankruptcy, seek fee reimbursements from the estate. A district court had ruled that the law prohibits some fee reimbursements, but the Fifth Circuit disagreed.

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