New Law Will Make Distraint Faster and Fair, Says Minister

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ZAGREB, January 6, 2019 – Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković said on Saturday that a new distraint bill was expected to make the procedure quicker and fair.

Speaking on RTL television, he called on everyone criticising or doubtful about the bill to join in the public consultation on it, saying that, despite the distrust shown so far, the government had managed to unfreeze the bank accounts of almost 160,000 citizens in a short time.

The debt of citizens with frozen accounts was 43 billion kuna and now it’s 18.3 billion kuna, Bošnjaković said, adding that the new law would reduce the cost of distraint in the future, making it quicker for both creditor and debtor thanks to digital technology as well as fair.

He said the threshold in case of real estate would be raised, so that a property cannot be seized if a debtor owes less than 40,000 kuna. “In the existing law we already have a measure under which, if someone loses a property, the state provides for them for 18 months, paying the renting of a space,” he said, calling claims that Croatia was copying another state’s law were “inappropriate.”

“We will reduce the number of people with frozen accounts to a reasonable level,” Bošnjaković said, mentioning the personal bankruptcy law, whose amendments have gone into force.

He said the consumer bankruptcy procedure had never been so simple. “We introduced a new form of bankruptcy for those owing up to 20,000 kuna and whose accounts have been frozen for more than three years. We are yet to see the real results. There are more than 100,000 such people.”

As for claims by those debtors that essentially nothing was changing and that their debts would still be passed on to their descendants, Bošnjaković said this would happen if debtors were unconscientious and irresponsible. He urged everyone to be conscientious and responsible when undertaking commitments so as not to have their accounts frozen over small amounts.

He also said it was important that under the new bill, “there can be no distraint without the debtor being notified.”

More news on the Justice Ministry can be found in our Politics section.


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