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Registry Trust - Good Judgments Dec 2008

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  • Registry Trust - Good Judgments Dec 2008

    The value of Judgments reaffirmed through their use in debt recovery and risk assessment

    Report by The Registry Trust

    An interesting report

    Part 5: Debt Management and Relief

    In considering the changes introduced by the Act, it is also worth noting that Part 5 covers measures designed to improve and extend the range of options available to assist the over-indebted. It is aimed at those with multiple debts but with relatively low levels of overall debt. The measures include reform of the Administration Order (AO), and the introduction of Enforcement Restriction Orders (ERO). The Act provides for secondary legislation to define the parameters for each scheme. The Ministry of Justice and HMCS issued a consultation document on the parameters in January 2008.

    The AO scheme is a court administered debt management scheme currently restricted to those with maximum debts of 5,000, one of which must be a judgment debt. Once an order is made creditors named in the order cannot enforce their debts without leave of the court nor add interest or other charges to the debt. However, the lack of clarity about the nature of debts that can be included has led to differences of approach between courts. Further, the current AO scheme has little support from either the advice sector or the credit industry.
    Though the number of Administration Orders has increased during recent years, the 7,407 AOs registered with Registry Trust during 2007 compares with almost 800,000 consumer CCJs. Among the changes proposed to the AO scheme to make it more attractive are:

    No need for there to be a judgment debt
    Greater clarity on debts that can and cannot be included in an order
    A maximum five year limit on the duration of orders
    An increase in the total debt limit to 15,000

    Enforcement Restriction Orders (ERO) are intended to provide short-term assistance via enforcement relief to those who experience a sudden and unforeseen change to their financial circumstances from which they are likely to recover within a relatively shortperiod. Orders will be limited to a maximum of 12 months during which enforcement action by creditors will be barred, except with the permission of the court. EROs date back to the 1990 Courts and Legal Services Act, though because of operational issues were never implemented.
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