J. Ernst Degenhardt | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
George Degenhardt
George Degenhardt

J. Ernst Degenhardt

Counsel, Düsseldorf

T +49 211 49195 0

E jdegenhardt@whitecase.com


"George" J. Ernst Degenhardt specializes in project finance transactions, as well as in insolvency and restructuring law – both under German and French law.

In the area of insolvency and restructuring law, he advises banks, funds and companies in connection with corporate insolvencies, as well as distressed loans. In addition, Ernst counsels insolvency administrators on cross-border insolvency issues, complex (project) financing agreements and shareholder loans. Within these practice areas, Ernst, who is admitted to the bar in Germany and France, particularly focuses on advising German clients on issues specific to France and French clients on their business activities in Germany.

Ernst is a member of the French Institute of Insolvency Practitioners (Institut Français des Praticiens des Procédures Collectives - IFPPC), the Oxford University Society of Paris, the Oxford Business Alumni (OBA) and the Cologne Working Group for Insolvency Matters.

In 1993 and 1995, Ernst worked in the Paris office of a German-French commercial law firm.

Bars and Courts

  • Avocat au Barreau de Paris
  • Solicitor of England and Wales
  • Rechtsanwalt


  • French Bar Exam, Versailles
  • MJur, University of Oxford
  • Maîtrise de Droit Privé, University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, mention bien
  • Second State Exam, Higher Regional Court of Koblenz
  • First State Exam, University of Cologne
  • Maître en Lettres, University of Paris X, mention très bien


  • German
  • English
  • French
  • Italian



  • Selected publications include the following:
  • A Journey through the Countries of Shareholder Loan Subordination, Bulletin Joly Entreprises en Difficulté, Issue 3, Pages 175-179, 2015, (Voyage à travers les pays de la subordination des prêts d’associé)
  • Case Note on the Judgment of the Commercial Court of Nanterre, France, of 24 October 2013: The Liquidator in French Secondary Insolvency Proceeding is Entitled to Sue the Former German Managing Directors on the Basis of the French Liability for Overindebt, IILR – International Insolvency Law Review, Issue 1, Pages 31-40, 2015
  • Accelerated Safeguard Proceedings with Cessation of Payments: Unjustified Privileges for Security Grantors Who Are Natural Persons?, Bulletin Joly Entreprises en Difficulté, Issue 1, Pages 60-63, 2015, (Sauvegarde accélérée en cessation des paiements: des faveurs injustifiées pour les garants personnes physiques?)
  • The International Effects of the Judgment Closing the French Debt Discharge Procedure, Bulletin Joly Entreprises en Difficulté, Issue 1, Pages 48-51, 2015, (Les effets internationaux du jugement de clôture de la procédure de rétablissement professionnel)
  • 'Banks' Security Interests in Insolvency Proceedings – The, Limitation Language' Following the Reform of the German Insolvency Act by the MoMiG Act, Bankgeschäfte zwischen Markt, Regulierung und Insolvenz – Festschrift für Hans-Jürgen Lwowski zum 75. Geburtstag. Ed. Georg Bitter, Claus Ott and Herbert Schimansky. Munich, Pages 275-295, 2014, (Banksicherheiten im Insolvenzverfahren – die ,Limitation Language' in Zeiten des MoMiG) (with Undritz, Sven-Holger)
  • The determination of the assets of the debtor who applies for a discharge of residual debt (under French law): does one have to take into account assets purchased with retention of title and the separate estate of a sole trader with limited liability?, Bulletin Joly Entreprises en Difficulté, Issue 5, Pages 335-339, 2014, (La détermination de l'actif du débiteur sollicitant un rétablissement professionnel : faut-il prendre en compte des biens acquis sous réserve de propriété et le patrimoine affecté de l'EIRL?)
  • Settlement Agreements with Companies in French Insolvency Proceedings - Practical Guidance for Avoiding their Invalidity, IILR – International Insolvency Law Review, Issue 3, Pages 233-254, 2014
  • The Reform of the French Insolvency Law of 12 March 2014 – Strengthening of the Insolvency Prevention and Introduction of a Debt Discharge Procedure without a prior Insolvency Procedure, NZI, Issue 11, Pages 433-439, 2014, (Die Reform des französischen Insolvenzrechts vom 12.3.2014 – Stärkung der Prävention und Einführung eines Schuldenbefreiungsverfahrens ohne vorgeschaltetes Insolvenzverfahren)
  • The New French 'Accelerated Financial Safeguard Procedure' (Sauvegarde financière accélérée) – Successful Completion of the First Procedure, NZI, Issue 19, Pages 830-836, 2013, (Das neue französische ,beschleunigte finanzielle Sanierungsverfahren' (Sauvegarde financière accélérée) - Erfolgreicher Abschluss des ersten Verfahrens) (co-author)
  • De Facto Management and Requalification of (Bank) Loans in Equity, WM, Pages 583-591, 2005, (Faktische Geschäftsführung und kapitalersetzende (Bank-) Darlehen bei der AG) (with Michael Damnitz)