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GARNISHEES: fallout uncertain

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Debt collectors are downplaying the importance of this week’s Constitutional Court ruling on so-called garnishee orders, but it could very well lead to a surge in reviews of existing orders and damages claims.

A class action is even being mooted to wipe out large numbers of these orders, using the court’s definitive ruling that “forum shopping” – a practice where the orders are obtained at magistrates’ courts other than the one in the district where the debtor lives or works – is illegal.

The ruling also activates a high court order from last year that had been under appeal – that the Law Society of the Northern Provinces look into debt collector Flemix & Associates, which has a book of about 150 000 debtors, to see if they had “breached their ethical duties”.

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