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Expert Recommendations and the Evolution of European Best Practices for the Treatment of Overindebtedness, 1984-2010


Jason J. Kilborn


The John Marshall Law School; Radboud University Nijmegen

August 21, 2010


Abstract:     
A series of European experts have weighed in over the past twenty years on the proper way forward for preventing and treating consumer overindebtedness. This paper applies these expert recommendations in an analysis of the multitude of laws establishing (and revising) formal debt adjustment systems in Europe, from the first, in Denmark in 1984, to the most recent, in Greece at the end of July 2010. It first traces and describes in detail the context and content of the various expert recommendations with respect to best practices in treating overindebtedness. Then, it identifies their shared core and tracks their correspondence with the evolving contours of European laws on debt adjustment and overindebtedness relief. The most common shared recommendations are broken into conceptual parts, with detailed examples of how national laws have taken action, advertently or inadvertently consistent with the experts' views, especially in cases where the original laws failed to heed potential dangers and were later reformed to address emerging problems. Areas where some national laws still lag behind the experts' suggestions are pointed out, as well, in order to "hold their feet to the fire" and challenge the makers of lagging legal policy to update their laws to the state of the art. Like many of the recommendations that it examines, this paper is designed to inform and guide future policy makers as overindebtedness law continues its rapid and dynamic evolution, both within Europe and beyond.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

Keywords: Consumer Bankruptcy, Consumer Insolvency, Bankruptcy, Insolvency, Comparative Law, Consumer Law

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Date posted: August 22, 2010 ; Last revised: September 17, 2010

Suggested Citation

Kilborn, Jason J., Expert Recommendations and the Evolution of European Best Practices for the Treatment of Overindebtedness, 1984-2010 (August 21, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1663108 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1663108

Contact Information

Jason J. Kilborn (Contact Author)
The John Marshall Law School ( email )
315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands
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