Debtors Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-131.pdf
Published: 0000

Debtors (CAP. 131 1

CHAPTER 131

THE DEBTORS ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.

PART I

ABOLITION OF IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT

3. Abolition of imprisonment for debt. Exceptions.
4. Saving of power of committal for judgment debts.
5. Court may make a receiving order.
6. Saving for Bankruptcy Act.
7. Rules.

PART I1

PUNISHMENT OF FRAUDULENT DEBTORS

8. Punishment of fraudulent debtors.
9. Penalty for absconding with property.

10. Penalty for fraudulently obtaining credit, &c.
1 1 . False claim, &c., a misdemeanour.
12. Debts incurred by fraud.
13. Order by Court for prosecution on report of trustee.
14. Power for Court to commit for trial.
15. Expenses of prosecution.
16. Form of indictment.
17. Criminal liability after discharge or composition.
18. Punishments under this Act not cumulative.

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Debtors (CAP. 131 3

DEBTORS

1511971.
S.I. 3911989.

1. This Act may be cited as the Debtors Act. short title.

2. In Part I of this Act- Interpretation.

"the Court" means the High Court;

"receiving order" means a receiving order made under
the provisions of any Bankruptcy Act.

PART I

3. With the exceptions hereinafter mentioned, no per- Abolition of
imprisonment for son shall, after the commencement of this Act, be arrested debt. Exceptions.

or imprisoned for making default in payment of a sum of
money.

There shall be excepted from the operation of the above
enactment:

(a) Default in payment of a penalty, or sum in the
nature of a penalty, other than a penalty in respect of
any contract;

( b ) Default in payment of any sum recoverable
summarily before a magistrate;

( c ) Default by a trustee or person acting in a
fiduciary capacity, and ordered by a Court to pay any
sum in his possession or under his control;

(d) Default by a solicitor in payment of costs when
ordered to pay costs for misconduct as such, or in pay-
ment of a sum of money when ordered to pay the same
in his character of an officer of the Court making the
order;

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4 CAP. 131) Debtors

( e ) Default in payment for the benefit of creditors
of any portion of a salary or other income in respect
of the payment of which any Court having jurisdiction
in bankruptcy is authorized to make an order;

V) Default in payment of sums in respect of pay-
ment of which orders are in this Act authorized to be
made:
Provided, first, that no person shall be imprisoned in

any case excepted from the operation of this section for a
longer period than one year; and, secondly, that nothing
in this section shall alter the effect of any judgment or order
of any Court for payment of money, except as regards the
arrest and imprisonment of the person making default in
paying such money.

Saving of power
of committal for

4. (1) Subject to the provisions hereinafter mentioned,
judgment debts. and to the prescribed rules, the Court may commit to prison

for a term not exceeding six weeks, or until payment of the
sum due, any person who makes default in payment of any
debt or instalment of any debt due from him in pursuance
of any order or judgment of that or any other competent
Court:

Provided-

(a) That the jurisdiction by this section given of
committing a person to prison shall, subject to any rules,
be exercised only by a Judge or his deputy, and by an
order made in open Court, and showing on its face the
ground on which it is issued;

( 6 ) That such jurisdiction shall only be exercised
where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that
the person making default either has, or has had since
the date of the order or judgment, the means to pay
the sum in respect of which he has made default, and
has refused or neglected, or refuses or neglects, to pay
the same.

(2) Proof of the means of the person making default
may be given in such manner as the Court thinks just; and,
for the purposes of such proof, the debtor and any witnesses
may be summoned and examined on oath according to the
prescribed rules.

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Debtors (CAP. 131 5

(3) Any jurisdiction by this section given to the Court
may be exercised by a Judge sitting in Chambers, or other-
wise, in the prescribed manner.

(4) For the purposes of this section, any Court may
direct any debt due from any person, in pursuance of any
order or judgment of that or any other competent Court,
to be paid by instalments, and may from time to time rescind
or vary such order.

(5) No imprisonment under this section shall operate
as a satisfaction or extinguishment of any debt or demand
or cause of action, or deprive any person of any right to
take out execution against the lands, goods, or chattels of
the person imprisoned in the same manner as if such im-
prisonment had not taken place.

(6) Any person imprisoned under this section shall be
discharged out of custody upon a certificate signed in the
prescribed manner to the effect that he has satisfied the debt
or instalment of the debt in respect of which he was im-
prisoned, together with the prescribed costs (if any).

5 . The Court may, if it thinks fit, on any applica- Court may make
tion, made to it under section 4, decline to commit, and in :zeF
lieu thereof, with the consent of the judgment creditor and
on payment by him of the prescribed fee, make a receiving
order against the debtor. In such case the judgment debtor
shall be deemed to have committed an act of bankruptcy
at the time the order is made.

6. Nothing in this Part shall in any way affect any Saving B nkruptcy for Act.
right or power under any Bankruptcy Act in force in Antigua Cap.
and Barbuda to arrest or imprison any person.

7. All general rules and orders may, respectively, be Rules.
made by the Minister, for the purpose of carrying into effect
this Part.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

CAP. 131) Debtors

PART I1

Punishment of
fraudulent

8. Any person adjudged bankrupt shall, in each of
debtors. the cases following, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour,

and shall be liable to be imprisoned for any time not ex-
ceeding two years, with or without hard labour; that is to
say-

(a) if he does not, to the best of his knowledge and
belief fully and truly discover to the trustee administer-
ing his estate for the benefit of his creditors all his pro-
perty, real and personal, and how, and to whom, and
for what consideration, and when he disposed of any
part thereof, except such part as has been disposed of
in the ordinary way of his trade (if any), or laid out
in the ordinary expense of his family, unless the jury
is satisfied that he had no intent to defraud;

( b ) if he does not deliver up to such trustee, or as
he directs, all such part of his real and personal property
as is in his custody or under his control, and which he
is required by law to deliver up, unless the jury is
satisfied that he had no intent to defraud;

(c) if, he does not deliver up to such trustee, or
as he directs, all books, documents, papers, and writing
in his custody, or under his control, relating to his pro-
perty or affairs, unless the jury is satisfied that he had
no intent to defraud;

(d) If, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, or within four months next before
such presentation, he conceals any part of his property
to the value of forty-eight dollars or upwards, or con-
ceals any debt due to or from him, unless the jury is
satisfied that he had no intent to defraud;

(e) if, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, or within four months next before
such presentation, he fraudulently removes any part of
his property of the value of forty-eight dollars or
upwards;

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Debtors (CAP. 131

(f) if he makes any material omission in any state-
ment relating to his affairs, unless the jury is satisfied
that he had no intent to defraud;

(g) if, knowing or believing that a false debt has
been proved by any person under the bankruptcy, he
fails, for the period of a month, to inform such trustee
as aforesaid thereof;

(h ) if, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, he prevents the production of
any book, document, paper, or writing affecting or
relating to his property or affairs, unless the jury is
satisfied that he had no intent to conceal the state of
his affairs or to defeat the law;

( I ) if, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, or within four months next before
such presentation, he conceals, destroys, mutilates or
falsifies, or is privy to the concealment, destruction,
mutilation, or falsification of any book or document
affecting or relating to his property or affairs, unless
the jury is satisfied that he had no intent to conceal the
state of his affairs or to defeat the law;

Q if, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, or within four months next before
such presentation, he makes or is privy to the making
of any false entry in any book or document affecting
or relating to his property or affairs, unless the jury is
satisfied that he had no intent to conceal the state of
his affairs or to defeat the law;

(k) if, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, or within four months next before
such presentation, he fraudulently parts with, alters, or
makes any omission in, or is privy to the fraudulently
parting with, altering, or making any omission in, any
document affecting or relating.to his property or affalrs;

( I ) if, after the presentation of a bankruptcy peti-
tion by or against him, or at any meeting of his creditors
within four months next before such presentation, he
attempts to account for any part of his property by
fictitious losses or expenses;

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8 CAP. 131) Debtors

Penalty for
absconding
property.

(m) if, within four months next before the presen-
tation of a bankruptcy petition by or against him, he,
by any false representation or other fraud, has obtained
any property on credit and has not paid for the same;

(n) if, within four months next before the presen-
tation of a bankruptcy petition by or against him, he,
being a trader, obtains, under the false pretence of
carrying on business and dealing in the ordinary way
of his trade, any property on credit, and has not paid
for the same, unless the jury is satisfied that he had no
intent to defraud;

(0) if, within four months next before the presen-
tation of a bankruptcy petition by or against him, he
being a trader, pawns, pledges, or disposes of, other-
wise than in the ordinary way of his trade, any property
which he has obtained on credit and has not paid for,
unless the jury is satisfied that he had no intent to
defraud;

@) if he is guilty of any false representation or other
fraud for the purpose of obtaining the consent of his
creditors, or any of them, to any agreement with
reference to his affairs or his bankruptcy.

9. If any person who is adjudged a bankrupt, after
with

the presentation of a bankruptcy petition by or against him,
or within four months before such presentation, quits An-
tigua and Barbuda and takes with him, or attempts br makes
preparation for quitting Antigua and Barbuda and for taking
with him, any part of his property to the amount of ninety-
six dollars or upwards, which ought by law to be divided
amongst his creditors, he shall (unless the jury is satisfied
that he had no intent to defraud) be guilty of felony,
punishable with imprisonment for a time not exceeding two
years, with or without hard labour.

Penalty for 10. Any person shall, in each of the cases following,
fraudulently
obtaining credit, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable
&C . to be imprisoned for any time not exceeding one year, with

or without hard labour; that is to say-

(a) if, in incurring any debt or liability, he has
obtained credit under false pretences, or by means of
any other fraud;

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Debtors (CAP. 131 9

( 6 ) if he has, with intent to defraud his creditors,
or any of them, made or caused to be made any gift,
delivery, or transfer of or any charge on his property;

(c) if he has, with intent to defraud his creditors,
concealed or removed any part of his property since or
within two months before the date of any unsatisfied
judgment or order for payment of money obtained
against him.

11. If any creditor in any bankruptcy wilfully and f . ~ ; s ; ~ ~ ~ ; .
with intent to defraud makes any false claim, or any proof,
declaration, or statement of account which is untrue in any
material particular, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour,
punishable with imprisonment for a time not exceeding one
year, with or without hard labour.

12. Where a debtor makes any arrangement or com- F ; F a y m d
position with his creditors under the provisions of any
Bankruptcy Act in force in Antigua and Barbuda, he shall
remain liable for the unpaid balance of any debt which he
incurred or increased, or whereof, before the date of the
arrangement or composition, he obtained forbearance, by
any fraud:

Provided the defrauded creditor has not assented to the
arrangement or composition otherwise than by proving his
debt and accepting dividends.

13. Where a trustee or official receiver in any order by Court
for prosecution

bankruptcy reports to any Court exercising jurisdiction in ,port of
bankruptcy that, in his opinion, a bankrupt has been guilty trustee.
of any offence under this Act, or where the Court is satisfied
upon the representation of any creditor, or member of the
committee of inspection, that there is ground to believe that
the bankrupt has been guilty of any offence under this Act,
the Court shall, if it appears to the Court that there is a
reasonable probability that the bankrupt may be convicted,
order the trustee to prosecute the bankrupt for such offence.

14. (1) Where there is, in the opinion of the Court, Power for Court
to commit for ground to believe that the bankrupt or any other person has ,,id.

been guilty of an offence which is by statute made a misde-
meanour in cases of bankruptcy, the Court may commit the
bankrupt or such other person for trial.

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10 CAP. 131) Debtors

(2) For the purpose of committing the bankrupt or such
other person for trial, the court shall have all the powers
of a magistrate as to taking depositions, binding over
witnesses to appear, admitting the accused to bail, or
otherwise.

Expenses of
prosecution. 15. Where the prosecution of the bankrupt under this

Act is ordered by any Court, then, on the production of the
order of the Court, the expenses of the prosecution shall be
allowed, paid, and borne as expenses of prosecutions for
felony are allowed, paid, and borne.

Form of
indictment. 16. In an indictment for an offence under this Act

it shall be sufficient to set forth the substance of the offence
charged, in the words of this Act specifying the offence, or
as near thereto as circumstances admit, without alleging or
setting forth any debt, act of bankruptcy, trading, adjudica-
tion, or any proceeding in, or order, warrant, or document
of any Court acting under any Bankruptcy Act.

Criminal liability
after discharge or

17. Where a debtor has been guilty of any criminal
composition. offence, he shall not be exempt from being proceeded against

therefor, by reason that he has obtained his discharge, or
that a composition or scheme of arrangement has been
accepted or approved.

Punishments
under this Act
not cumulative.

18. Where any person is liable under any other Act
or at common law, to any punishment or penalty for any
offence made punishable by this Act, such person may be
proceeded against under such other Act, or at common law,
or under this Act, so that he be not punished twice for the
same offence.
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