Debtors Act (Ireland) 1872

Saving of power of committal for small debts.

14 & 15 Vict. c. 57.

6. Subject to the provisions herein-after mentioned and to the prescribed rules, any 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, made or recovered after the passing of this Act in respect of a debt contracted after the passing of this Act.

Provided—(1.) That the jurisdiction by this section given of committing a person to prison shall, in the case of any court other than the superior courts of law and equity, be exercised only subject to the following restrictions; that is to say,

(a) Be exercised only by a judge, and by an order made in open court, and showing on its face the ground on which it is issued :

(b.) Be exercised only as respects a judgment of a superior court of law or equity when such judgment does not exceed fifty pounds exclusive of costs :

(c.) Be exercised only as respects a decree of a civil bill court by a chairman of quarter sessions or recorder.

(2.) 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.

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.

Any jurisdiction by this section given to the superior courts may be exercised by a judge sitting in chambers, or otherwise in the prescribed manner.

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.

Persons committed under this section by a superior court may be committed to the prison in which they would have been confined if arrested on a writ of capias ad satisfaciendum, and every order of committal by any superior court shall, subject to the prescribed rules, be issued, obeyed, and executed in the like manner as such writ.

This section, so far as it relates to any civil bill court, shall be deemed to be sub-tituted for sections one hundred and sixteen and one hundred and seventeen of the Civil Bill Courts (Ireland) Act, 1851, and that Act and the Acts amending the same shall be construed accordingly, and shall extend to orders made by the chairman of quarter sessions with respect to sums due in pursuance of any order or judgment of any court other than a civil bill court.

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 imprisonment had not taken place.

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 a debt in respect of which he was imprisoned, together with the prescribed costs (if any).

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