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Workshop 9 "Family and Credit: Does Consumer Credit threaten Family Ties?" Workshop outline by Aurelia Ciacchi

Dr. Dott. Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, LL.M.*

Below is a list of questions covering some of the issues that will be discussed within the “Family and Credit” workshop panel which will include the participation of: myself, Aurelia Ciacchi, acting chairperson and senior researcher from the ZERP Centre of European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen; Sophie Vigneron from Kent Law School; Gail Burks from the board of NCRC; NN from GE Consumer Finance, Europe; NN from Citibank; Niall Cooper from DOOD in the UK; Nicole Perez from UFC QueChoisir; and Sonia El Heit from Familles rurales a French microlender.

1. Do families in your country have a better access to credit than individuals? Why? Are there any specific family-friendly products on the credit market?

2. Does consumer indebtedness have any negative effects on the stability of marriages and families?

3. Is there any relation between the number of children in a family and its credit problems, with particular regard to indebtedness?

4. Which repercussions does the indebtedness of a family have for its children?

5. Are personal guarantees or the joint and several liability of family members for a consumer credit frequent in the banking practice of your country? If not, why?

6. How far are personal guarantees or the joint and several liability of family members related to personal or family indebtedness? In particular:

i) Do lenders frequently give credit to consumers which is only secured by a personal guarantee or the joint liability of a family member? If not, why?

ii) Do lenders frequently require personal guarantees or the joint liability of family members who do not have the financial means necessary to meet such obligations? If not, why?

7. Under which circumstances would you, and/or the prevalent opinion in your country, consider a personal guarantee or the joint and several liability of a family member for a consumer credit as being unfair? For instance:

i) Liability of young children for their parents’ debts?
ii) Spouse’s liability after a divorce?
iii) Liability of family members who were not aware of the financial risk when signing the guarantee or credit agreement?
iv) Liability of family members who, although perfectly aware of the risk, nevertheless had no choice but to sign the banking agreement because a refusal would have impaired the harmony in the family?
v) Liability of a family member which is manifestly disproportionate to his or her financial means?

8. Are there any instruments of legal protection of family members from unfair guarantees or credit agreements? Please specify, e.g.

i) Consumer protection law?
ii) General law of obligations and contracts?
iii) Specific provisions concerning certain types of contracts?
iv) Family law?
v) Consumer insolvency law?
vi) Constitutional law?
vii) Other branches of law?

9. Are there any other, not necessary legal, instrument of protection of family members from unfair guarantees or credit agreements?

10. Would you describe the overall level of protection extended to family members in case of unfair guarantees or credit agreements in your country as high or low? Do you consider this level as satisfactory?

11. Would it be possible to provide any legal or other instruments already existing in your country with a new interpretation or application practice, so as to increase the level of protection of family members?

ID: 37217
Author(s): iff
Publication date: 29/04/06

Created: 13/04/06. Last changed: 13/04/06.
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