Scotland politics

Scottish bankruptcy bill promises fairness for debtors and creditors

New bankruptcy legislation aiming to strike a better balance between the rights of debtors and the rights of creditors has been introduced.

The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill 2013 will provide for improved financial advice.

It will also ensure that those who "can pay" their debts "should pay".

The legislative reform promises to create a more efficient process and allow people to apply for bankruptcy online.

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, said the bill was one of the most ambitious and far-reaching reforms ever considered by both the Scottish government and Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB).

AiB is an agency of the Scottish government which has responsibility for administering personal bankruptcy processes; administering the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and recording corporate insolvencies in Scotland.

Mr Ewing said: "The bill provides access to fair and just processes, allowing debtors to gain control of their debt and their lives and ensures that Scotland leads the way in meeting the rights and needs of debtors and creditors.

"It is vital that people who are experiencing financial hardship have the benefit of advice on the range of options open to them. By taking advice early, many people may be able to avoid bankruptcy by reaching an agreement with their creditors.

"The reforms provided for in this bill ensure that our law on debt relief can deal with the challenges we face in modern society, providing appropriate solutions and protection to both those in debt and their creditors."

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