The historical development of anti-usury laws in Austria and Poland


Keywords: interest; usury; undue influence; Polish law; Austrian law.

Abstract

Virtually all modern legal system attempts to balance the interests of debtors and creditors. Both categories of parties are equipped with instruments protecting their interests where the law (precisely: the social and moral convictions prevalent in the society that tend to determine the content of the law) deems such protection justified. Just as creditor protection concentrates on dealing with dishonest debtors and preventing fraud, debtor protection has been crafted to shield debtors from abusive interest rates or other – excessively detrimental – contractual provisions (e.g. clauses that unconscionably expand debtors’ liability or render  their defences effectively inoperative). Such practices, especially charging excessive interest, have been called usury. In contemporary Polish law the system of debtor protection is multi-layered, with various instruments whose scope often overlaps. That such system exists and how it operates is a direct result of the historical development of instruments aimed at combating usury. This text aims to recapture how anti-usury legislation developed in Austria, whose legal system is closely related to Polish, and to describe how legal systems tend to arrive at very similar outcomes – notwithstanding the differences in the globality of circumstances. The authors employ legal comparative and historical methods, supplanted by formal-dogmatic ones, to present the evolution of anti-usury legislation in Austria as well as the state of anti-usury private law legislation in Poland.

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Published
2020-09-30
How to Cite
Bokwa, K., & Jarosz, I. (2020). The historical development of anti-usury laws in Austria and Poland. Fundamental and Applied Researches in Practice of Leading Scientific Schools, 40(4), 18-26. Retrieved from https://farplss.org/index.php/journal/article/view/707