From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Definition added[edit]

I added a definition. However, the article is centric to English law and the definition is from an American law dictionary. The article probably could be expanded to show references to distraint in American and other common law jurisdictions outside England. Famspear 14:30, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

This is going to be abolished in England soon so somebody had better include the U.S. angle or the whole article will be recategorised under "Legal history".Cutler (talk) 15:03, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I added a section on distraint in the United States, where it has not yet been completely abolished. Verkhovensky (talk) 00:27, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Only from the distrainor's land?[edit]

How do you call "Distraint" if something is distrained from somewhere else? E.g. someone owns a car which is on his own property and the car is distrained? (talk) 14:15, 18 June 2010 (UTC)


Is distraint another word for [[1]] (repo) If so, shouldn't the articles be merged? If not, shouldn't there be an in-article explanation of the difference? Because they seem like the same thing to me. (I had never heard of distraint before, read it in a book just now, so looked it up here.) Tyrannophobe (talk) 20:55, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

No, if anything repossession and distraint are opposites. Distraint can be thought of as taking control of something that is already in your possession (using the term "possession" in a broad sense), while repossession is a seizure -- taking control of something that was NOT in your possession immediately prior to the time of the repossession. Famspear (talk) 01:11, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Think of it in terms of the landlord distraining property of the tenant -- maybe a piece of furniture in an apartment. The apartment is owned by the landlord so, in some broad sense, the landlord is taking control of something that was already located within his property.
In the United States, if a taxpayer files a tax refund claim for $10,000 for one year, but owes the Internal Revenue Service $15,000 in tax for another year, the IRS may simply offset the $10,000 refund claim against the $15,000 tax owed, and then try to collect the difference of $5,000 from the taxpayer. The act of offsetting the $10,000 refund claim can be thought of as a "distraint" in a broad sense. The money that the taxpayer wanted was simply "taken" by the IRS and used to partially satisfy a claim that the IRS has against the taxpayer. I say, "taken" although the IRS didn't actually go to a box with the taxpayer's name on it and "take" $10,000 in cash; however, in a conceptual or theoretical sense, the IRS "took" money that the IRS had that would otherwise have been turned over to the taxpayer (had the taxpayer not owed the IRS).
Seizure (and repossession is a type of seizure) involves taking control of something that was, in some sense, not in the actor's "possession" at the moment immediately prior to the time of the seizure. Distraint involves taking control of something that was, in some broad sense, already in the actor's "possession" (to some degree) immediately prior to the time of the distraint. Famspear (talk) 01:21, 27 September 2014 (UTC)