The Legal Case for Debt Repudiation

Chris Jochnick

in Sovereign Debt at the Crossroads

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195168006
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783458 | DOI:
 The Legal Case for Debt Repudiation

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This chapter briefly describes the tremendous social and economic costs of overindebtedness and the role of Northern creditors and governments in solving debt problems. It then sets forth legal reasons for the need for debt repudiation and/or relief: (1) the heightened level of responsibility of creditors and Northern governments; (2) violations of human rights, and (3) the illegitimacy of debt. These arguments are based on well-established principles of domestic and international law that are applicable to domestic proceedings and relevant to a future international insolvency mechanism. The arguments serve to challenge popular or political understandings of the legal sanctity of debt, thereby creating space and support for more ambitious solutions to debt crises.

Keywords: illegitimate debts; overindebtedness; debt relief; creditor obligations; human rights; international insolvency mechanism

Chapter.  12663 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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