According to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Marttinen v. Finland, a debtor has the right to remain silent in a debt enforcement enquiry given that the following conditions are met: first, that the inquiry is held concurrently with a criminal procedure; and second, that the same questions of evidence are investigated in both of the concurrent proceedings. Under these circumstances, the debtor enjoys the privilege against self-incrimination in the enforcement enquiry. The scope of this article is to examine whether the debtor has not only the right to remain silent, but also the right to give false statements. The assessment of this problem is built on the moral grounds of the privilege itself, but also on the law reforms and changes in case law after the judgment in the Marttinen case. As a conclusion of this article, the problem of false statements should not be evaluated by equating silence with false statements, but by considering two basic questions. First, would the right to remain silent suffice to protect the privilege against self-incrimination; and second, whether the motives for providing false statements express the aim to achieve something else than protection against inappropriate use of coercive power.
Copyright (c) 2018 Tuomas Hupli
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