UK bankruptcy firm acquired
DUBLIN LAW firm Anthony Joyce Co has bought IrishBankruptcyUK.ie, a UK firm that assists Irish people seeking bankruptcy in Britain, for an undisclosed sum. The merger will result in the formation of a new joint Irish and UK personal insolvency company, Debt Options, which will be based in Dublin.
Anthony Joyce, principal solicitor at the Irish law firm, which has represented a number of owners of distressed properties in Ireland, said the company decided to acquire the UK firm as a high number of Irish people continue to seek bankruptcy in the UK, despite the publication of the Personal Insolvency Bill in June.
“The banks will still have a power of veto over insolvency options that people with large debts can take, therefore, the number of people moving to the UK to declare bankruptcy is still expected to remain high,” he said.
Mr Joyce criticised the new personal insolvency legislation in Ireland.
“The proposed system is too complex and actually makes it harder for people to go bankrupt because you have to prove that you’ve engaged in a six-month personal insolvency arrangement process with the bank.”
In addition, he pointed out that the Irish system requires debtors to have legal assistance, describing the process involved as “prohibitively expensive”.
Leicester-based IrishBankruptcyUK.ie, has been involved in the write-off of more than €1 billion worth of Irish debt in the UK over the last year. The company helps people to formulate a bankruptcy petition, including the statement of affairs and proof of the debtor’s centre of main interest (Comi).
Its founder, Steve Thatcher, who is joining Debt Options, said the company has seen no reduction in Irish people looking to declare bankruptcy in the UK.
So far this week the company has helped two Irish property owners secure bankruptcy orders in the UK, which involved a debt write-down of €15 million and €10 million, respectively, he said.
In June the government introduced the Personal Insolvency Bill, which presented a radical shake-up of Ireland’s insolvency legislation. It introduced three specific mechanisms by which mortgage-holders and people with other forms of unsustainable debt can reach agreements with their creditors. The system will be overseen by a new insolvency service.
In addition, the Bill introduced changes to bankruptcy laws in Ireland, most significantly, a reduction in the bankruptcy term from 12 years to three years. It also increased the minimum amount at which a creditor can petition a debtor for bankruptcy, from €1,900 to €20,000.