Magazine article Public Finance

Courts 'Must Do More to Cut Repossessions'

Magazine article Public Finance

Courts 'Must Do More to Cut Repossessions'

Article excerpt

Civil courts should do more to stem the increasing tide of home repossessions, a think-tank has said.

According to a report from the Centre for Policy Studies, district judges can reduce the number of repossessions by about 30,(KK) per year by suspending orders at the same rate as in the early-1990s.

Figures published by the Ministry of Justice in November showed that the number of mortgage repossession orders granted in England and Wales rose to 87,100 during the third quarter of 2008. This was up by 2 1 % on the same period the previous year. Figures due later this month are almost certain to show a further rise.

The report, written by housing lawyer Natalie Elphicke, warned that as many as 157,000 repossession orders could be granted both this year and next if current trends continue.

But experience from the previous recession showed that courts could protect families by suspending orders and allowing them to remain in their homes.

The number of orders suspended by courts rose from 47% to 59% between 1990 and early 1994. The report claimed that judges should act sooner and use extra discretion when households are in arrears. …

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