(This is a translated article from "Stavanger Aftenblad", the main regional newspaper in the south western part of Norway. The article was published on Saturday 30th of January 2021, and is the first article published about the situation I have been struggling with for the past 30 months. My cases are far from over, as the article will tell, by remarks made by Professor Mads Andenaes, concur with my own findings in the carefully architected Norwegian bankruptcy-fraud against its own citizens anno 2021)
Title: Was declared bankrupt - now he is fighting for a moe humane system
Introduction: - You feel stripped and undressed, without any rights, when you are declared bankrupt in Norway, says Jarl-Gunnar Lier. Law professor Mads Andenæs agrees - and believes Norway has "slept during the class".
Body text: In the summer of 2018, Lier experienced what he describes as the nightmare of his lifetime. His company, Salestext, was declared bankrupt. After that, the Oltedal* guy, according to himself, has spent over 11,000 hours studying the law around bankruptcy.
During his involuntary study, Lier has made some shattering discoveries in the court's practice, that he believes are a weakness with the current system. He now conveys these views primarily through the association "Domstolens Venner Foundation" (DVF), which he started half a year ago.
- I have, quite frankly, not had time to prioritize the foundation as much as I would like. As of now, we are around 400 members where most have experienced one or more bankruptcies - and we all agree that every one of us is deprived of all human rights when declared bankrupt, Lier says.
And continues: - You are standing on bare ground in the nightmare of your life, and because the general population has no or very little knowledge of the legal aspects around bankruptcy, it´s hard to penetrate the prejudice.
- nor can he afford legal aid - We are completely stripped naked by a system that does not comply with current laws and regulations.
- What are you specifically thinking about then?
- It is enshrined in law that you are entitled to legal assistance when you are deprived of fundamental rights, such as being allowed to present your case to a judge. The bankruptcy act forbids the debtor this fundamental right, leaving the debtor without the means to speak his case in front of a judge in any and all matters of disagreement.
These are universal human rights everyone is entitled to, accept in Norwegian courts during bankruptcy proceedings.
- But is it not true that the most important decisions taken by the district court, can be appealed to the Court of Appeal?
- Yes, that is correct, but in practice, it does not work that way. It is expensive to appeal, and it goes without saying that if you go bankrupt in Norway, the courts and the collectors hardly leave you with enough money for food and shelter, and any income above that, is the property of the bankruptcy estate. Even the legal aid act prohibits debtors in bankruptcy proceedings from being appointed a lawyer. The only possibility for an appeal is if someone pays for legal expenses on your behalf.
- So what do you think can be a better solution than what is the case with the current system?
- I believe that everyone who goes bankrupt should be appointed an assistant guardian, a lawyer who can assist a debtor in all matters during a bankruptcy, Lier replies.
In a debate post in Aftenbladet on July 24th last year, Lier proclaims what he believes are seven mistakes that are repeated in almost all bankruptcies since the "new" Bankruptcy Act came into force in 1984. Most of the mistakes in a bankruptcy proceeding are connected to trustees and how they conduct themselves as guardians appointed by the district court.
- The Bankruptcy Act states that the trustee's accounts must be audited in accordance with the «International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)» standards. This audit is rarely performed, leading to repeated invalid bankruptcy proceedings. Trustees, thus also have no inspections, no supervision at all, and can operate and mostly do whatever they feel like, as some also do, even in matters of settlements of their own fees, Lier says .
Through his meticulous work, Lier has been in contact with several professors, lawyers, and other experts in bankruptcy and private law.
One of them is law professor Mads Andenæs at the University of Oslo (UiO). Andenæs, who has received several awards for his work and is perhaps Norway's most recognized in his field, believes that Lier has several good points.
- Those who are declared bankrupt have little protection beyond an absolute minimum. This is the law of bankruptcy, and the private law system is based on it, says Andenæs, who believes that the Bankruptcy Act and the Coverage Act must be modernized.
- We just have to admit that we have not kept up to date with the international development. Traditional thinking and narrow interest policies have dominated the field of bankruptcy for too long.
Andenæs now asks Norway to look to other countries.
- USA has long been a model for comprehensive debt negotiation schemes for both individuals and companies. And in the UK, a new scheme came into force last year for debt negotiations inspired by American models. There, trustees are also better regulated. In addition, many other European countries have modernized their schemes so that they have become better than what we have, says Andenæs.
About the case of Jarl-Gunnar Lier, he says the following:
- I have tried to help him a bit by reviewing the material he sends me, and on a couple of occasions given feedback on it. But I'm a professor of company law and not a business lawyer. I can therefore not assist Lier in his litigation.
- But I think that Lier has several good and valid points. Especially when it comes to the rules on legal assistance, and that our system does not contribute sufficiently to finding balanced solutions so that companies can continue.
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