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Consumer Insolvency in the European Legal Context

  • Johanna Niemi


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    Consumer credit, as an important aspect of the free movement of capital, has for a long time now been subject to European Union regulations. However, one important aspect of consumer credit, over-indebtedness, has not been acknowledged in the Consumer Credit directives of 1978 and 2009, nor is there any other European Union law instrument that addresses over-indebtedness or insolvency of consumers. The only European-level document addressing the problem of over-indebtedness of ordinary people is the Council of Europe Recommendation of 2007. In European Union law, over-indebtedness can and should be approached from several angles. The Insolvency Regulation (2000) does not directly address situations facing the consumer debtor and leaves it up to the discretion of the Member States to include or exclude insolvency proceedings for consumer debtors regarding the scope of the Regulation. There can be little doubt that the European Union has a legal basis for action in this field, and it has also used its competence in a number of related issues, such as general insolvency law and enforcement of judgments. Case C-461/11, in which Advocate General delivered her opinion on Sept 13 th , 2012 shows that national insolvency procedures for natural persons may constitute a restriction on the freedom of movement. This article argues that, even in the absence of a European Union law instrument, the Member States should recognize debt adjustment judgments made in another Member State and that there is a need for a regulation in the European Union law in this field. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Consumer Policy.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 443-459

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:4:p:443-459
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