Separated mother of special needs child declared bankrupt at the High Court

In other, ‘questionable’ case, 18-year-old borrower was given mortage without completing a loan form


A mother of a special needs child who left home because of domestic violence was made bankrupt at the High Court yesterday.

The woman, who made the application on her own behalf, told Mr Justice Brian McGovern she had left her family home because of “a history of family violence” and separated from her partner three years ago.

Two years ago, she lost her job and she and her son had been surviving on carer’s allowance, she said. There had also been some rental income from the property she had owned with her husband.

Vague statement
Mr Justice McGovern said the woman’s statement of affairs was “a little bit vague”. He said he was aware preparing such a document might be simple for some, but was “not a simple matter for other people”.

The woman told the court the Money Advice and Budgeting Service had assessed her financially and found she was below the reasonable living expenses level – set by the Insolvency Service of Ireland – and had no excess income. This meant she could not qualify for any of the personal insolvency arrangements.

The judge said he would make the order adjudicating her bankrupt. He told her to speak to the bankruptcy inspector who was in court.

In a separate court list dealing with repossessions, the judge heard a borrower never filled in a form for a loan from Bank of Scotland Ireland Ltd.

On affidavit filed in the court, the borrower said she was 18 years old when she took out a mortgage of €270,000 on a property in Collinstown, west Dublin, in June 2005.

She bought the property from a developer who was also her employer, her landlord, the vendor, the builder and the intermediary with the bank. He also arranged her legal advice, she said.

She said she never filled out a loan application. Her employer had a “close working relationship” with a senior lending manager at the bank, she said, and he arranged the loan. She signed for it in the company of her employer and a number of his friends, relatives and employees. Some of the others present were also purchasing, she said.

She claimed her employer “exerted undue influence” over her at the time.

The woman was not in court and her counsel said she had moved abroad and the property was vacant. She was not consenting to the application, but wanted the matter settled, he said.

Mortgage signed for
Counsel for the lender conceded there was no loan application on file for the woman, but she had signed the mortgage. He also said there were arrears of more than €145,000.

Mr Justice McGovern said the case “did sound questionable”. There were points raised in the woman’s affidavit that suggested “she may have been walked into a situation”. However, he said there was no evidence the bank “knew of the irregularities if there were irregularities”.

He granted the order for possession with a three- month stay of execution.