The Equal Access to Justice Act–Are the Bankruptcy Courts Less Equal than Others?

This Note argues that the bankruptcy courts have authority under the BAJA to shift fees against the federal government. Part I discusses the relevant caselaw and examines the basis of the current controversy. Part II examines the statutory language, the legislative history, and the stated purposes of the BAJA and concludes that each of these aspects of the statute demonstrates a congressional intent to grant fee-shifting authority to the bankruptcy courts. Part III considers alternatives to finding bankruptcy court jurisdiction over BAJA disputes, rejecting each as inefficient and unnecessary. This Note concludes that courts should construe the BAJA consistently with its language, history, and purpose, and allow the bankruptcy courts to shift fees and costs against the federal government in appropriate cases.