ACA International, the largest trade group for the credit and collection industry, issued a statement Tuesday regarding the regulation of debt collection attorneys’ litigation activities.

The following is a statement from ACA’s Board of Directors:

"Our individual rights and freedoms under the law depend upon an independent judiciary - independent not only of the legislative and the executive branches, which the judiciary checks and balances, but also of political parties, moneyed interests, and popular majorities. Since at least the 19th century, the exclusive right to regulate lawyers has been vested in the judicial branch of our government. The courts have exercised that power responsibly and effectively throughout that time.

“Recently, though, some federal agencies have begun treading upon the separation of powers by trying to regulate the litigation activities of lawyers who turn to the courts in order to help recover unpaid consumer debts. The right to petition for redress through the courts is a constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the courts are fully empowered to make sure that the right is exercised in a fair and just manner for all the parties to each lawsuit. Lawyers are officers of the court who must answer to the court for the way that they conduct litigation. There is absolutely no basis for executive-branch regulators (or any actors in the executive or legislative branch), who are not judicial officers and who operate outside the court’s control, to intrude themselves into litigation between private parties for which a judge is already presiding.

"ACA International strongly opposes such interference by the executive branch (or, for that matter, the legislative branch) with the workings of our justice system. To that aim, ACA supports Senate Bill 2328, which would expressly exempt from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act the litigation activities - and only the litigation activities - of lawyers who invoke their clients’ constitutional right to petition the courts for the recovery of unpaid and overdue consumer debt.”

ACA International, founded in 1939, brings together more than 230,000 professionals representing third-party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. ACA supports members through state and federal advocacy, training and resources. 

 

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