Repossessions to go through Circuit Courts

I’m confused. As far as I can see, the only difference in the outcome will be the costs. While this is welcome in itself, why not just say it rather than spoof it that this in some way is going to help homeowners keep hold of their home?

The current practice in the High Court is to grant Circuit Court costs to the bank, so the costs that the bank can recover from the punter is still the same, and if someone doesn’t have any money anyway, they can no more easily afford €3k to defend a Circuit Court case as they can afford to defend a €10k High Court case. If he really is concerned about that, why doesn’t he increase the funding to the Legal Aid Board, or allow the High Court/Circuit Court judge to issue a certificate for legal aid.

The reason why some banks (and most of the traditional lending agencies still use the circuit court) use the High Court is because it has an expedited procedure. By contrast, a civil case in some circuits mightn’t be heard for 2-4 years.

Just another instance of the government not really understanding how the legal system works and passing laws to curry favour with the populace. If anything, this will only make the bank’s job more difficult without helping anybody.

  1. I don’t believe banks select which court to use out of concern for their clients reputation.

  2. It’s verry worrying “what they neighbours think” is being introduced as a somehow relevant fact in a court case.

  3. AIB seem to be proposing a repossession system in which people don’t “get very upset”.
    I hope their proposals in this regard amount to more than “move it to the high court”.


I worked in repossessions for a couple of years during the boom (legal exec for a solicitor who represented one of the major building societies) and it was very rare for the bank to ask for a case to be heard in the High Court. The couple of cases I remember were when the borrower had completely taken the piss and the Circuit Court proceedings were dragged out for years (in these cases the borrower knew the system, paying a few quid just before the court hearing but generally not paying their mortgage for years and years without any good cause). The High Court was a last resort as it’s much quicker. I don’t understand the idea of Circuit Court costs being awarded against the borrower in the High Court by the way - the couple of High Court repossessions I dealt with had whacking great High Court costs awarded.

It’s very different now though, with far more genuine hardship. I noticed that Start Mortgages and those subprime sharks are referring cases to the High Court after a couple of missed payments - perhaps the judge was trying to put a stop to that.

“What the neighbours think”, eh??
In Scandinavia, they publish everyone’s income, and tax paid.
Wonder what “the neighbours” would think if that was done in Ireland?

Of course, there’s no chance of that happening. And I can think of no greater indicator of the difference between egalitarian Scandinavia and let’s-be-like-America Ireland… … 797862.ece

Prior to these new rules, a bank could get a judgement in an undefended case in a fairly short time anyway. What will be interesting is whether these new rules will act as a filtering system whereby the county registrar has to decide whether there is a stateable defence in order for the defendants to defend proceedings.

It would be interesting to see whether this will make any difference in how Start and the like go about things. I haven’t seen any act which will punish them for taking High Court proceedings, all I’ve seen is that there is now an expedited procedure in the circuit court as well.

I like the “like-America” reference, as opposed to actual America, where you can look up exactly what your neighbour paid for their house.

Accessing civil legal aid is one of the huge problems that debtors face. Commit a crime and you’ll get it - more or less on the spot, not so if you can’t afford to keep a roof over your head.

I agree, but it’s a difficult one, especially since the government has no money. I think the best option would be that a judge should be able to ringfence a reasonable amount of fees for a solicitor/&counsel to represent the debtor which would come out of the costs of sale if the property was sold and/or if they got the repayments back on track.

However, not every case is the same, and unfortunately a lot of cases are people who overborrowed. Should they really get legal aid paid by the taxpayer to help keep them in a comfort which someone who earns the same but is more prudent can’t afford?

Agreed. But I spend a lot of time in the courts as it happens and the suffering of obviously decent people who are overwhelmed by their financial pressures is extraordinary and they are at a loss when it comes to dealing with judges and a system they just don’t understand. I’ve seen people suffer negative consequences because they didn’t know how to represent themselves, consequences they wouldn’t have faced if they’d had an ally.

I heard Charlie Flanagan waffling away yesterday as part an item on This Week about the cost of Legal Aid. One of the suggestions was that under the criminal system, individuals would pay back the costs if convicted. That’s unlikely to be realistic in the majority of cases. However, I think many people who find themselves under financial pressure would happily agree to a payback system down the road if their circumstances change to allow it. Remember the social costs to the person and his family can be enormous and far reaching. I think the system should step in - without months of stupid form filling while circumstances become more dire and intractable.

The whole point of legal aid is that you get it if you can’t afford to pay for representation - regardless of the reason. It doesn’t discriminate between those who find themselves skint and in trouble because imprudence or a cruel twist of fate.