Judgment means State must end imprisonment for debt

18 June 2009

Victory in McCann case puts pressure on government to amend outdated laws immediately

Legal rights organisation FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) welcomes the judgment of Ms. Justice Laffoy in the case brought by Caroline McCann on challenging her proposed imprisonment for non-payment of a civil debt. The judge issued her ruling in favour of Ms McCann today, which FLAC hailed as a vindication of Ms McCann's constitutional and human rights.

FLAC has long contended that the current system, where a debtor without funds or ability to pay a debt can be imprisoned, is wrong and does not accord with fairness or human rights.

FLAC calls on the government to amend the very outdated laws governing this area immediately. An opportunity exists through extending the provisions of the Fines Bill, which is currently before the Dáil, to deal with matters of civil debt.

Like Northside Community Law Centre which represented Ms. McCann, FLAC has been pressing for reform in debt law for many years. FLAC's new report on the experience of debtors in the Irish legal system will be published in early July 2009.


For further information, please contact FLAC or see our debt law reform campaign page