More courts will deploy debt officers to connect people to resources
A pilot program installing debt officers in courts across the country is proving useful to people with financial problems. The judiciary hopes to implement it on a larger scale, as a step toward fixing the debt problem, according to De Rechtspraak.
People who go into debt often end up in court multiple times, returning because of new bills they cannot afford to pay. In an effort to break this cycle, several courts have deployed debt officers who can mediate between the judiciary and municipal debt counseling.
"A push toward debt relief is more effective than if we see people again and again with a new summons," court president Rémy van Leest told Trouw.
Often, people with financial problems aren't aware of the resources available to them, according to De Rechtspraak. Within the past two years, debt officers have helped 188 people through referrals to muncipalities, which are responsible for assisting people in debt.
Because the pilot program was successful, the Council for the Judiciary and court presidents are looking into providing debt officers in courts across the country. Currently, they are only available in Rotterdam, The Hague, Limburg, Gelderland and Amsterdam courts.
“Judges are not aid workers," Van Leest told Trouw. “But the world does not stop at the door of the court. We also want to keep an eye on what society needs.”