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Consumer Insolvency in the European Legal Context



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

Suggested Citation

  • Johanna Niemi, 2012. "Consumer Insolvency in the European Legal Context," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 443-459, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:4:p:443-459
    DOI: 10.1007/s10603-012-9215-8

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Marcus Drometer & Katrin Oesingmann, 2015. "Household Debt and the Importance of Effective Private Insolvency Laws," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(2), pages 63-66, 08.
    2. Michel Robe & Eva Maria Steiger, 2016. "Insolvency and its Consequences: A Historical Perspective," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(4), pages 35-40, 02.
    3. Tuula Linna, 2015. "Consumer Insolvency: The Linkage Between the Fresh Start, Collective Proceedings, and the Access to Debt Adjustment," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 357-374, September.
    4. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2016:i:4:p:19191585 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:19166299 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Nadja K├Ânig, 2016. "Personal Insolvency Dynamics in Germany and the UK -- A SUR-TAR Approach," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201602, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.


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