Posts Tagged ‘Imprisonment for debt’

Ending Imprisonment for debt is only the first step in reshaping our prison policy

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

The Law Reform Commission’s Consultation Paper on Personal Debt Management and Debt Enforcement, published recently, provisionally recommended that imprisonment should not be an option for debt recovery. The Commission’s position, based on a thorough assessment of current Irish and international practice, is a sensible and welcome one. While there are many sound reasons against using imprisonment for debt, our Government recently reaffirmed it as a possible sanction for debtors, albeit one which is now more difficult to impose. The Enforcement of Court Orders (Amendment) Act 2009 was rushed into law following a High Court case which struck down the constitutionality of the original legislation allowing debtors to be jailed. That decision did not say that imprisonment for debt was impermissible in all circumstances. Rather, the High Court stated that there needed to be procedural protections in place before a person could be jailed for debt.

Instead of taking the opportunity presented by the judgment to eliminate imprisonment for debt in all cases, the Oireachtas decided to put in place these procedural protections, but retain the ultimate sanction of imprisonment for those who wilfully refuse to pay and there are no goods in the debtors possession which could be taken in fulfilment of the debt. Read more…