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e-CFR data is current as of January 25, 2021

Title 22Chapter ISubchapter TPart 191Subpart B → §191.12

Title 22: Foreign Relations
Subpart B—Application of Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act

§191.12   Description of benefits.

The following material is included to assist persons affected, by providing a brief description of some of the provisions of the Civil Relief Act. Note that not all of the sections applicable to hostages have been included here. References to sections herein are references to the Civil Relief Act of 1940, as amended, followed by references in parentheses to the same section in the United States Code.

(a) Guarantors, endorsers. Section 103 (50 U.S.C. App. 513) provides that whenever a hostage is granted relief from the enforcement of an obligation, a court, in its discretion, may grant the same relief to guarantors and endorsers of the obligation. Amendments extend relief to accommodation makers and others primarily or secondarily liable on an obligation, and to sureties on a criminal bail bond. They provide, on certain conditions, that the benefits of the section with reference to persons primarily or secondarily liable on an obligation may be waived in writing.

(b) Written agreements. Section 107 (50 U.S.C. App. 517) provides that nothing contained in the Act shall prevent hostages from making certain arrangements with respect to their contracts and obligations, but requires that such arrangements be in writing.

(c) Protection in court. Section 200 (50 U.S.C. App. 520) provides that if a hostage is made defendant in a court action and is unable to appear in court, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the hostage and protect the hostage's interests. Further, if a judgment is rendered against the hostage, an opportunity to reopen the case and present a defense, if meritorious, may be permitted within 90 days after release.

(d) Court postponement. Section 201 (50 U.S.C. App. 521) authorizes a court to postpone any court proceedings if a hostage is a party thereto and is unable to participate by reason of being a captive.

(e) Relief against penalties. Section 202 (50 U.S.C. App. 522) provides for relief against fines or penalties when a court proceeding involving a hostage is postponed, or when the fine or penalties are incurred for failure to perform any obligation. In the latter case, relief depends upon whether the hostage's ability to pay or perform is materially affected by being held captive.

(f) Postponement of action. Section 203 (50 U.S.C. App. 523) authorizes a court to postpone or vacate the execution of any judgment, attachment or garnishment.

(g) Period of postponement. Section 204 (50 U.S.C. App. 524) authorizes a court to postpone proceedings for the period of captivity, and for 3 months thereafter, or any part thereof.

(h) Extended time limits. Section 205 (50 U.S.C. App. 525) excludes the period of captivity from computing time under existing or future statutes of limitation. Amendments extend relief to include actions before administrative agencies, and provide that the period of captivity shall not be included in the period for redemption of real property sold to enforce any obligation, tax, or assessment. Section 207 excludes application of section 205 to any period of limitation prescribed by or under the internal revenue laws of the United States.

(i) Interest rates. Section 206 (50 U.S.C. App. 526) provides that interest on the obligations of hostages shall not exceed a specified per centum per annum, unless the court determines that ability to pay greater interest is not affected by being held captive.

(j) Misuse of benefits. Section 600 (50 U.S.C. App. 580) provides against transfers made with intent to delay the just enforcement of a civil right by taking advantage of the Act.

(k) Further relief. Section 700 (50 U.S.C. App. 590) provides that a person, during a period of captivity or 6 months thereafter, may apply to a court for relief with respect to obligations incurred prior to captivity, or any tax or assessment whether falling due prior to or during the period of captivity. The court may, on certain conditions, stay the enforcement of such obligations.

(l) Stay of eviction. Section 300 (50 U.S.C. App. 530) provides that a hostage's dependents shall not be evicted from their dwelling if the rental is $150 or less per month, except upon leave of a court. If it is proved that inability to pay rent is a result of being in captivity, the court is authorized to stay eviction proceedings for not longer than 3 months. An amendment extends relief to owners of the premises with respect to payments on mortgage and taxes.

(m) Contract and mortgage obligations. As provided by sections 301 and 302 of the Act (50 U.S.C. App. 531 and 532), as amended, contracts for the purchase of real and personal property, which originated prior to the period of captivity, may not be rescinded, terminated, or foreclosed, or the property repossessed, except as provided in section 107 (50 U.S.C. App. 517), unless by an order of a court. The mentioned sections give the court wide discretionary powers to make such disposition of the particular case as may be equitable in order to conserve the interests of both the hostage and the creditor. The cited sections further provide that the court may stay the proceedings for the period of captivity and 3 months thereafter, if in its opinion the ability of the hostage to perform the obligation is materially affected by reason of captivity. Section 303 (50 U.S.C. App. 533) provides that the court may appoint appraisers and, based upon their report, order such sum as may be just, if any, paid to hostages or their dependents, as a condition to foreclosing a mortgage, resuming possession of property, and rescinding or terminating a contract.

(n) Termination of a lease. Section 304 (50 U.S.C. App. 534) provides, in general, that a lease covering premises occupied for dwelling, business, or agricultural purpose, executed by persons who subsequently become hostages, may be terminated by a notice in writing given to the lessor, subject to such action as may be taken by a court on application of the lessor. Termination of a lease providing for monthly payment of rent shall not be effective until 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due, and, in the case of other leases, on the last day of the month following the month when the notice is served.

(o) Assignment of life insurance policy. Section 305 (50 U.S.C. App. 535) provides that the assignee of a life insurance policy assigned as security, other than the insurer in connection with a policy loan, except upon certain conditions, shall not exercise any right with respect to the assignment during the period of captivity of the insured and one year thereafter, unless upon order of a court.

(p) Storage lien. Section 305 (50 U.S.C. App. 535) provides that a lien for storage of personal property may not be foreclosed except upon court order. The court may stay proceedings or make other just disposition.

(q) Extension of benefits to dependents. Section 306 (50 U.S.C. App. 536) extends the benefits to section 300 through 305 to dependents of a hostage.

(r) Real and personal property taxes. Section 500 (50 U.S.C. App. 560) forbids sale of property, except upon court leave, to enforce collection of taxes or assessments (other than taxes on income) on personal property or real property owned and occupied by the hostage or dependents thereof at the commencement of captivity and still occupied by the hostage's dependents or employees. The court may stay proceedings for a period not more than 6 months after termination of captivity. When by law such property may be sold to enforce collection, the hostage will have the right to redeem it within 6 months after termination of captivity. Unpaid taxes or assessments bear interest at 6 percent.

(s) Income taxes. Section 513 provides for deferment of payment of income taxes. However, section 204 of the Hostage Relief Act of 1980 provides for deferment and certain other relief, and should be referred to in order to determine statutory tax benefits in addition to those in section 513 of the Civil Relief Act.

(t) Certification of hostage. Section 601 provides that a certificate signed by the agency head shall be prima facie evidence that the person named has been a hostage during the period specified in the certification.

(u) Interlocutory orders. Section 602 (50 U.S.C. App. 582) provides that a court may revoke an interlocutory order it has issued pursuant to any provision of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940.

(v) Power of attorney. Section 701 (50 U.S.C. App. 591) provides that certain powers of attorney executed by a hostage which expire by their terms after the person was captured shall be automatically extended for the period of captivity. Exceptions are made with respect to powers of attorney which by their terms clearly indicate they are to expire on the date specified irrespective of hostage status. (Section 701 applies to American hostages notwithstanding paragraph (c) thereof which states that it applies only to powers of attorney issued during the “Vietnam era”.)

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