By Belinda Fehlberg
This book is the first major study of an increasingly evident legal and social problem: spouses and partners (particularly wives) who provide third party loan security for the business liabilities of their other spouse or partner. Unlike other texts in this field, Fehlberg specifically considers the legal rules which apply to surety wives in England, with reference to other Commonwealth jurisdictions, particularly Canada and Australia. The law is then considered in the context of sociological literature relevant to surety experience. The particular uniqueness of this book is that legal and sociological literature are then tested against empirical research involving interviews with sureties, and other main parties involved in surety transactions. Significantly the latter underlines the discrepancy between the 'public' legal perspective on providing security and 'private' complex experiences and motivations which pertain within intimate relationships. Given this situation, the author considers various legal reforms which could improve the position of sureties, but emphasises that the ultimate solution for sureties involves more fundamental social change.