Individual Voluntary Arrangements: a 'fresh start' for salaried consumer debtors in England and Wales

Walters, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-5854-4655, 2009. Individual Voluntary Arrangements: a 'fresh start' for salaried consumer debtors in England and Wales. International Insolvency Review, 18, pp. 5-36. ISSN 1180-0518

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Since the mid-1990s the number of consumer insolvencies in England and Wales has grown exponentially. The UK's Insolvency Act 1986 offers two formal responses to personal insolvency: bankruptcy and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs). While consumers have used both these debt relief mechanisms in increasing numbers in recent years, IVAs - regulated agreements between debtors and creditors facilitated by a licensed insolvency practitioner, usually taking the form of a 5-year payment plan - grew faster than bankruptcies between 2003 and 2006. However, the level of new IVA approvals fell back in 2007 and the first half of 2008. This article charts the transformation of the IVA from a bankruptcy alternative originally designed for insolvent traders and professionals into a tool of consumer debt relief. It then seeks to explain both the stellar rise in IVA usage among consumer debtors and the subsequent stalling of IVA growth. The rise of consumer IVAs can be attributed largely to supply side changes in the market for debt resolution - in particular the emergence of volume providers commonly referred to as IVA factories - while a sustained backlash against the procedure and the providers instigated by institutional creditors demanding higher recoveries accounts for the subsequent decline in approvals. The article concludes by considering the near-term prospects for consumer IVAs within the context of the increasingly complex UK debt resolution market.

Item Type: Journal article
Description: By special permission of publisher.
The definitive version is available at
Publication Title: International Insolvency Review
Creators: Walters, A.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Place of Publication: Chichester
Date: 2009
Volume: 18
ISSN: 1180-0518
Rights: Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:12
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:22

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