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Debt Agreements for Consumers under Bankruptcy Law in Australia and Developing International Principles and Standards for Personal Insolvency

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Abstract

The debt agreement option under bankruptcy law was introduced in Australia in 1996. Since its introduction, it has undergone significant review, and two sets of amendments have been crafted to meet issues as they have been raised. Its popularity is reflected in the increasing proportion of debt agreements compared with the other two debt relief options available under bankruptcy legislation, bankruptcy and the personal insolvency agreement. A review of the debt agreement scheme has recently been undertaken, but the government has yet to respond to its recommendations. Meanwhile, the work of comparative bankruptcy scholars has found new impetus from the treatment of consumer debtors during the Global Financial Crisis. At the same time, at the international level, there is growing interest in developing general principles for the treatment of personal insolvency, despite the acknowledged diversity of approach to personal insolvency at the national level. This paper examines the debt agreement framework and how it fits within the comparative bankruptcy literature and the developing international principles for the treatment of personal insolvency. Copyright © 2014 INSOL International and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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