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International Conference on Over-Indebtedness and Credit Regulation

From left to right: Franciscus Haupt (Director UP Law Clinic), Professor Patricia McCoy (University of Hartford, Connecticut), Professor Peggy Maisels (Florida International University, Miami), Aniki van Wyk (Office Manager, UP Law Clinic), Professor Nick Huls (University of Leiden and Erasmus University, Rotterdam), Emeritus Professor Harry Rajak (Sussex University, UK), Malcolm Hurlston (Chariperson CCCS, UK), Lourens Grové (Conference Organiser, UP Law Clinic)

At the end of March 2010, South Africa had 18,22 million credit active consumers. Of these 8,37 million (46%) had impaired credit records (i.e. three or more months in arrears with their instalments, judgment granted against them or subject to an adverse credit bureau entry). A further 2,6 million (14,5%) were debt stressed (one or two months in arrears with payments)

This translates to more than 11 million (60,5%) of all credit active consumers in South Africa being over-indebted! In May 2010 alone 124 630 summonses for debt were issued by the courts.

It is against this background that the UP Law Clinic hosted an International Conference on Over-Indebtedness and Credit Regulation, as part of its 30 year anniversary celebrations in 2010.

The conference hosted both national and international experts as speakers (including staff from the UP Law Clinic) and was well attended. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several requests for a follow-up conference. The conference not only created many opportunities for networking, but more importantly shared the different experiences and solutions the different players across the globe have to the common problems of over-indebtedness and credit regulation.

The UP Law Clinic is one of the only law clinics in the world to have successfully hosted a truly international conference on this scale.