Journal article Open Access

Consumer Insolvency in the Czech Republic

Jindřiška Šedová

The Czech Republic is a country whose economy has undergone a transformation since 1989. Since joining the EU it has been striving to reduce the differences in its economic standard and the quality of its institutional environment in comparison with developed countries. According to an assessment carried out by the World Bank, the Czech Republic was long classed as a country whose institutional development was seen as problematic. For many years one of the things it was rated most poorly on was its bankruptcy law. The new Insolvency Act, which is a modern law in terms of its treatment of bankruptcy, was first adopted in the Czech Republic in 2006. This law, together with other regulatory measures, offers debtridden Czech economic subjects legal instruments which are well established and in common practice in developed market economies. Since then, analyses performed by the World Bank and the London EBRD have shown that there have been significant steps forward in the quality of Czech bankruptcy law. The Czech Republic still lacks an analytical apparatus which can offer a structured characterisation of the general and specific conditions of Czech company and household debt which is subject to current changes in the global economy. This area has so far not been given the attention it deserves. The lack of research is particularly clear as regards analysis of household debt and householders- ability to settle their debts in a reasonable manner using legal and other state means of regulation. We assume that Czech households have recourse to a modern insolvency law, yet the effective application of this law is hampered by the inconsistencies in the formal and informal institutions involved in resolving debt. This in turn is based on the assumption that this lack of consistency is more marked in cases of personal bankruptcy. Our aim is to identify the symptoms which indicate that for some time the effective application of bankruptcy law in the Czech Republic will be hindered by factors originating in householders- relative inability to identify the risks of falling into debt.

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