Man loses case to overturn bankruptcy

Bank’s argument over €9m accepted

Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 01:09

A man who argued Bank of Ireland was not entitled to have him adjudicated bankrupt over failure to pay a €9.02 million judgment because it had not deducted €4,425 from that debt has lost his Supreme Court bid to overturn his bankruptcy by a two to one majority.

Bank of Ireland accepted it had not deducted the €4,425 payments made to Patrick Murphy’s accounts, which the bank had set off against his debt, from the €9.02 million sum in its bankruptcy petition. It argued the bankruptcy should stand on grounds that, with interest on the judgment, he owed the bank almost half a million euro more than the €9.02 million.

Adjuciated bankrupt
Mr Murphy, Falcon Hill, Lovers Walk, Tivoli, Cork, was adjudicated bankrupt in January 2011 over failure to pay €9,025,880, described by Bank of Ireland in its bankruptcy petition as the sum which “amounts to your total indebtedness”, under the May 2010 judgment obtained against him on consent.

After the High Court refused his application to set aside the adjudication, he appealed to the Supreme Court.

Giving the majority judgment yesterday dismissing his case, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said, in this “very unusual” case, Mr Murphy contended the adjudication should be overturned on grounds the sum sought in the bankruptcy summons was excessive while the Bank maintained the sum sought was far less than that due by Mr Murphy.

Having analysed the figures, she ruled the €9,025,880 sum was not in excess of that actually due and there was nothing in the bankruptcy summons which could have misled Mr Murphy as to what he needed to do to avoid committing an act of bankruptcy.

Had he paid the €9.02 million, he would not have committed an act of bankruptcy, she said.

Significantly more
As the sum actually due was significantly more than sought in the summons given the €495,938 accrued interest on the sum, it was difficult to see how Mr Murphy could claim the summons amount was excessive because it failed to credit him for €4,425, she said.