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Group of specialists on seeking legal solutions to debt problems (CJ-S-DEBT)
At their 26th Conference held on 7-8 April 2005 in Helsinki, the European Ministers of Justice adopted Resolution N°1 on Seeking Legal Solutions to Debt Problems in a Credit Society. In this Resolution the Ministers expressed their concern about the problems arising in today’s credit society due to, inter alia, the easy access to credit that can, in some cases, result in the over-indebtedness of households, creating social exclusion of individuals and families.

The Ministers further stressed that over-indebtedness has become an increasingly widespread problem in their respective countries and decided to invite the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to entrust the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) with the tasks, inter alia, of analysing the existing legislation and good practices, identifying the difficulties met in finding solutions to debt problems and preparing an appropriate instrument defining legislative and administrative measures as well as considering remedies to prevent over-indebtedness and solve debt problems.

Responding to the first task proposed by the Ministers of Justice, the CDCJ commissioned an expert, Professor Johanna NIEMI-KIESILAINEN, to prepare a Report on Seeking Legal Solutions to Debt Problems in Credit Societies incorporating the responses of the member states to the questionnaire sent by the Ministry of Justice of Finland prior to the Conference.

This Report contained a list of recommendations to member states concerning possible measures that could have been carried out in order to deal with the current situation of over-indebtedness in their countries and take effective control of it in the future.

Following the Report, the Group of Specialists on Seeking Legal Solutions to Debt Problems (CJ-S-DEBT) was created and given the main task of preparing a draft Recommendation on legal solutions to debt problems.

The CJ-S-DEBT held its three meetings at the Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg, on 17-19 May, 12-14 September and 13-15 November 2006 and prepared a draft Recommendation and explanatory memorandum on legal solutions to debt problems that were submitted to the CDCJ for approval in February 2007.

The Recommendation and its explanatory memorandum were adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 20 June 2007.

Measures taken by member states to implement Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)8
 Link to Document  
Final Recommendation adopted by the Committee of Ministers on legal solutions to debt problems CM/Rec(2007)8
Report by Professor NIEMI-KIESILAINEN
CDCJ-BU (2005) 11 rev.
Final Activity Report
CJ-S-DEBT (2006) 6
Council of Europe information brochure
Debt problems: the Council of Europe reacts
Le règlement collectif de dettes
Créer les conditions d’un fonctionnement competitif, durable et equilibré du marché des biens et services en Belgique (only in French)