Dating for debtors

Turkey and the United Kingdom (due to concerns over British nationality law) have signed but never ratified Protocol 4.Greece and Switzerland have neither signed nor ratified this protocol.The North German Confederation eliminated debtors' prisons on May 29, 1868.At present a comparable concept to debtors' prison still exists in various forms in Germany: In the Kingdom of Great Britain and the later United Kingdom, debtors' prisons varied in the amount of freedom they allowed the debtor.It was more similar to the modern enforcement of sentences (Strafvollzug) e.g.the debtor would be able to work off their debt for a certain amount of days, graduated by how much they owed.Increasing access and lenience throughout the history of bankruptcy law have made prison terms for unaggravated indigence illegal over most of the world.

Article 1 of Protocol 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits the imprisonment of people for breach of a contract.If the father of a family was imprisoned for debt, the family business often suffered while the mother and children fell into poverty.Unable to pay the debt, the father often remained in debtors' prison for many years.The father of the English author Charles Dickens was sent to one of these prisons (the Marshalsea), which were often described in Dickens's novels.The Debtors' Act of 1869 limited the ability of the courts to sentence debtors to prison, but it did not entirely prohibit them from doing so.

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