IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

A Next Step in Debt Enforcement: the Merger of Debt Help and Debt Collection

Listed author(s):
  • Nick Huls


Registered author(s):

    Since the 1990s, each Member State of the European Union designed a policy that infused the liberal American fresh start policy into its own social institutions and legal culture. Especially in countries with a civil law tradition, the legal position of the consumer has improved. The paradigm of lifelong liability of debts has been replaced by a form of limited liability. Discharge of debts has established itself as a firm legal principle in all European jurisdictions. In most European countries, the new approach consists of a combination of legal and extrajudicial instruments. Under the umbrella of the courts, social workers, trustees, and administrators perform a broad range of activities in monitoring and helping debtors. The so-called new-chance approach has dramatically changed the playing field amongst debtors and creditors. The new legal equilibrium worked rather well in most European countries in the 1990s and 2000s. However, the systems are obviously far from perfect as almost all European governments are still fine-tuning their laws. Recently, two innovations have appeared on the European stage: Some Nordic countries have opted for a centralized state-controlled enforcement system, while in the UK, commercial debt management plans were developed, mainly by commercial suppliers. In 2005, the US Bankruptcy Code was changed in favour of the creditors. The 2008 credit crunch and its aftermath present a window of opportunity for the next step in the modernization of debt enforcement policy. I will suggest a merger of the fields of debt relief and debt collection, with a pivotal role for independent trustees. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

    Volume (Year): 35 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 497-508

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:4:p:497-508
    DOI: 10.1007/s10603-012-9214-9
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:4:p:497-508. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

    or (Rebekah McClure)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.