Financial Hardship: The Legal Frameworks
39 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2014 Last revised: 4 Feb 2016
Date Written: June 28, 2014
The Financial Hardship Project at Melbourne Law School is the first in-depth study of the practical operation of Australia’s financial hardship laws, which are designed to protect consumers suffering from financial hardship, facilitate the performance of monetary obligations, and thus forestall default and bankruptcy. The project has published its first research report. The report outlines all of the legal frameworks that have been implemented to provide consumers with financial hardship protections in the last two decades. In the consumer credit and finance sectors, there is a national framework of financial hardship protections comprising the provisions of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) and the National Credit Code; related case law; and self-regulatory initiatives by particular industries. In the essential services sector, financial hardship protections remain state-based, although the energy industry has also seen a move towards a national approach to consumer protection. In the telecommunications sector, a national framework of protections has also been put in place. This report provides an overview of all of these frameworks, focusing upon their history and objectives, and laying a foundation for later empirical research.
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