Perspectives of Financial Counsellors and Consumer Solicitors on Personal Insolvency

17 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2015

See all articles by Paul Ali

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School

Lucinda O'Brien

Melbourne Law School

Ian Ramsay

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne

Date Written: September 15, 2015

Abstract

In 2014, a group of researchers at Melbourne Law School commenced a major empirical research project, focussing on Australia’s personal insolvency laws and their practical impact on people in financial distress. As part of the project, in early 2015, the research team conducted a national online survey of financial counsellors, consumer solicitors and other advocates who specialise in helping financially distressed individuals. The survey found that many of these advocates were highly sceptical about the value of debt agreements, or ‘Part IX’ agreements. By contrast, they generally saw bankruptcy as a useful and effective ‘last resort’ for people in financial crisis. At the same time, several advocates expressed concern regarding the long term impact of bankruptcy upon severely disadvantaged debtors. Several expressed the view that bankruptcy does not offer a genuine ‘fresh start’ for those who rely on inadequate social security income, or suffer from other disadvantages, such as mental illness. Instead, for people in this situation, bankruptcy offers little more than a temporary reprieve from ongoing, acute financial hardship.

Keywords: personal insolvency, bankruptcy, debt agreements, financial counsellors

Suggested Citation

Ali, Paul and O'Brien, Lucinda and Ramsay, Ian, Perspectives of Financial Counsellors and Consumer Solicitors on Personal Insolvency (September 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2660712

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 1088 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 5285 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au

Lucinda O'Brien

Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Ian Ramsay (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 5332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/ian-ramsay

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