Court action ban may lead to challenges
As about one-third of cases before the Commercial Court involve IBRC, a provision in the new IBRC Act granting an “immediate” stay on all proceedings “against” IBRC but not on proceedings “by” IBRC, could spark a challenge to the constitutionality of the legislation, according to some lawyers.
The most prominent action against IBRC is by Patricia Quinn and her five children, alleging they are not liable for €2.34 billion in loans to them by Anglo on grounds the loans were unlawfully made to prop up the bank’s share price.
The full hearing of that action, and of the bank’s action alleging various Quinn family members conspired to strip assets from their international property group, have been parked pending criminal trials of former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick and two former senior Anglo executives.
Pre-trial applications have continued, including cross-examination of the Quinn children and others by the bank, while the Quinns, in their case, are considering an application to join the Central Bank and Department of Finance as co-defendants with the bank.
The bank’s case is due to be mentioned today when some of the consequences of the new Act may become clearer.
Legal sources suggested yesterday that section 6 of the Act might breach rights of access to the courts and equality before the law as it stayed actions against the bank while allowing actions initiated by the bank to proceed.
Other sources said a statement in the title of the Bill that “in the achievement of the winding up of IBRC, the common good may require permanent or temporary interference with the rights, including property rights of persons” may provide the State with a defence to any such challenge.