Imprisonment over Debts
If a creditor gets judgment against a debtor, the amount which the court ordered the debtor to pay, the ‘judgment debt’, is payable to the creditor immediately.
Where the debtor cannot or does not pay the amount to the creditor straight away the creditor can use the court processes described in this section to ‘enforce the judgment’ that is, recover the money from the debtor.
A person cannot be imprisoned for debt in Tasmania except in certain circumstances, such as:
- Default by trustees, or solicitors;
- Where that person is trying to avoid a judgment debt by leaving Tasmania; or
- Has had since judgment the means to pay the judgment debt or any instalment thereof ordered to be paid, and has refused to neglected to do so (Sections 3and 5, Debtors Act 1870 (Tas)).
However, imprisonment is extremely rare because it will almost always be counter-productive.
If you have been threatened with prison over a judgment debt you should seek urgent legal advice.
Page last updated 15/12/2020
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