Recession, Repossession and Family Welfare

23 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2013

See all articles by Beverely Searle

Beverely Searle

Research Fellow, Centre for Housing Research

Date Written: 2012


This article questions the traditional privileging within the judicial system of creditors over occupiers following default on mortgage payments and the repossession of family homes. It does this within the context of the 2007 financial crisis, one cause of which lay within the heart of the housing financial (creditor) sector. In particular it argues that the circumstances associated with repossession are heightened during periods of economic decline. Families are at increasing risk of losing their home where economic conditions put pressure on household budgets and options for re-mortgaging are constrained. This is compounded where political ideology positions owner-occupation as the preferred tenure.

Whilst houses are bought, homes are repossessed. However, the meaning or value of ‘home’ is often lacking in legal disputes concerning defaulted mortgage payments. The article provides evidence of the circumstances which put families at risk of losing their home and importantly considers the devastating psychological and social consequences of repossession on families and their children.

Keywords: child law, family law, recession, repossession, family welfare

Suggested Citation

Searle, Beverely, Recession, Repossession and Family Welfare (2012). Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp 1-23, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Beverely Searle (Contact Author)

Research Fellow, Centre for Housing Research

North St
St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

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