Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) of 2003
In 1940, Congress passed the Soldiers and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). This was Congress’ first attempt to provide legal protection to service members concerning their financial and legal obligations when they were called away to active duty.
In December 2003, the new Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was signed into law. (Pub. L. No. 108-189, codified as amended at 50 U.S.C. App. 502 (2003)). The SCRA updated and revised protections afforded to service members in response to the increased numbers of reservists and National Guard members recently called to active duty. For more information about the SCRA, generally, visit http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/sscra/a/scra1.htm. The purpose of the SCRA is to enable servicemembers to devote their entire energy to the defense of the Nation and to provide for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings that may adversely affect the civil rights of service members during their military service. The SCRA provides that affidavits be submitted, or an attorney be appointed by the court, before a default judgment can be entered against a servicemember in any civil action or administrative proceeding in which the servicemember does not appear.
Thus, additional measures are being taken to ensure the protection of absent servicemembers’ due process rights.