Failure to discharge : a discussion of the insufficient legal recourse afforded to judgment debtors in the South African context

Van der Merwe, S. J. H. (2008-07)

AGORA International Journal of Juridical Sciences is listed as an open access journal at SHERPA RoMEO and DOAJ


University Legal Aid Clinics are often confronted with aspects of the law which are quite alien to those faced by our colleagues in private practice. One such area is that of assisting judgment debtors who have fallen afoul of disreputable and often immoral money lenders and other judgment creditors. These creditors unilaterally charge exuberant and unlawful fees for interest and ‘legal’ costs, which amounts are simply added to the judgments ex post facto. The issue of discharge then becomes hugely problematic as the courts do not mero motu step in to cancel emoluments attachment orders and other tools of collection employed by these creditors. It is argued that the South African legal system, including legislation in this regard, lends insufficient protection and recourse to indigent legal aid clients faced with this situation.

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