Washington Law Review


Ryan McRobert


Since Roman times, creditors have invoked the limited extrajudicial remedy of self-help repossession. Pre-colonial English laws also allowed for a limited repossession remedy outside of the courts, provided the creditor accomplished the repossession without a “breach of the peace.” The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) has allowed for the self-help remedy since the 1950s, making it available for any secured party in the event of contractual default so long as there was no breach of the peace. The drafters of the UCC, however, failed to define what constituted a “breach of the peace,” choosing to allow the courts to flesh out the definition in a fact specific, ex post fashion. This has resulted in a lack of clarity and consistency across jurisdictions as each court attempts to craft a breach of the peace requirement without guidance from the UCC. This Comment argues that courts across the country should adopt a two-part test for determining whether a breach of the peace occurred during self-help repossession. The two-part test involves three per se rules of exclusion followed by consideration of two factors to reach a final decision.

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