moratorium

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moratorium

a legally authorized postponement of the fulfilment of an obligation
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Moratorium

 

a postponement of obligations established by a government for a fixed period or until the end of certain forces majeures, for example, during war or natural disaster. A general moratorium applies to all obligations; other types pertain to only certain varieties of obligation or to certain categories of debtors.

In the USSR a moratorium may be established by a decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR or of a Union republic. Soviet civil law considers a moratorium grounds for suspending the period of limitation on civil suits (Civil Code of the RSFSR, art. 85). A general moratorium has never been declared in the USSR; during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, a moratorium was declared on certain obligations only.

In capitalist countries, the government resorts to moratoriums during periods of economic crisis. As a rule, such moratoriums apply to bank transactions on foreign loans. A special form of moratorium is the bank moratorium, which closes credit institutions for a certain time by order of the government. Use of the moratorium is characteristic of the present-day currency and financial crisis. For example, the devaluation of the American dollar in 1971–73 led to numerous closings of the major currency exchanges in Western Europe and Japan.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.