Bankruptcy Court Cases

Courts in Illinois and elsewhere in the country have long recognized that under the cy pres doctrine, courts can distribute residual funds in bankruptcy and other federal cases to appropriate charitable causes, and the CBF and the legal aid organizations and related initiatives the CBF supports are appropriate beneficiaries. See, e.g., In re Xpedior Inc., 2006 WL 3017330 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Ill., Oct. 23, 2006); Superior Beverage Co. v Owens-Illinois, Inc., 827 F. Supp. 477 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (approving distribution of unclaimed funds to a variety of charitable organizations); In re Scouring Pads Antitrust Litigation, No. 93 C 6594, 1995 WL 290242, at *1 (N.D. Ill., May 11, 1995).

Among the bankruptcy court projects that cy pres awards have made possible and continue to support through the CBF are the Bankruptcy Court Help Desk, which provides a critical service to the court by providing advice, brief assistance and referrals to hundreds of pro se litigants in the court each year. These awards also help make it possible for the CBF to provide steady support for the major pro bono and legal aid organizations that serve clients in bankruptcy court and to spearhead the development of helpful educational resources for the public that are available in print and online at

More information on the CBF and cy pres awards is available by clicking here. Sample language that can be used for bankruptcy cases is available by clicking here.

For questions or additional information, please contact CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves at or 312.554.1205.