Nederlands-Vlaams tijdschrift voor mediation en conflictmanagement


Bemiddelingsvaardigheden ten dienste van efficiënt en ethisch invorderen van schulden

Trefwoorden gerechtelijke schuldinvordering, gerechtsdeurwaarder, schuldenlast, beslag
Auteurs Alain-Laurent Verbeke

Alain-Laurent Verbeke
Alain-Laurent Verbeke is Full Professor of Law, Negotiation & Mediation KU Leuven, Harvard, Tilburg, UCP Lisbon, advocaat, en redacteur van dit tijdschrift.
  • Samenvatting

      Unpaid debts often accumulate with snowball effect, and contribute to an all more increasing poverty trap in our societies.
      All parties involved, also consumers, must be informed and educated towards responsible behavior in debt and credit engagements. Obviously prevention may not solve all problems and recovery of unpaid debts is there to remain.
      Efficient and ethical debt recovery then balances both the property rights of creditors who must be paid and the human rights of debtors who may not be pushed into poverty.
      In order to find and implement such balance we need a paradigm shift from the current unilateral approach of one claim of one creditor towards the human being behind the claim, and often many more claims.
      First of all no recovery measures can be put at the cost of the debtor unless they are taken by official bailiffs according to a strict procedure organized by law.
      Second these bailiffs must put the human being of the debtor at the center of their proceedings, taking into account all debts, informing each other through a digital platform and collaborating in order to avoid unnecessary and costly measures.
      Thirdly, the recovery process must contain down the road multiple checks on both solvability and paying capacity. As early as possible indications of poverty and impossibility to pay must be detected and followed up by putting the debtor on the track of debt assistance, with the help of opublic welfare instances and legal measures such as debt mediation in the frame of an official proceeding of collective debt regulation.
      Likewise debtors who seem capable of paying must be informed, helped, offered installment schemes, etc. Here the communication and facilitation skills of the bailiff are essential. The recovery process at some point in time also includes a physical visit of the bailiff at the debtor’s premises.
      Hence bailiffs need specific training and awareness on such mediation, communication and facilitation skills. The article provides a concrete illustration of such training.
      Finally the article concludes with a detailed draft of legislative Act illustrating how this approach and paradigm shift could be implemented. The draft is accompanied by an introduction and explanatory note.

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