Government plan is a useful first step in improving debt enforcement procedure

26 June 2009

Legal rights organisation FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) has welcomed the announcement that the Government intends to change the law so that courts will have to examine a debtor before it can consider the sanction of imprisonment.

Responding to today's announcement, FLAC's Director General Noeline Blackwell said "The proposal to bring debtors before the courts should help ensure that those who are already burdened with debts they cannot pay are not additionally saddled with imprisonment. Jail should never be used as a sanction against those who are unable to pay their debts. As well as being a fundamental breach of a person's rights, it is both inefficient and impractical in enforcing a debt."

She said that the proposed step is only "one of many that are needed to drag our antiquated debt enforcement law into the twenty-first century".

FLAC congratulated Caroline McCann and her lawyers from Northside Community Law Centre who brought the case which led to today's proposal. FLAC is due to launch its analysis of the debt enforcement system in Dublin on 6 July 2009.