Final regulations on personal insolvency practitioners due “within days”
Department of Justice defends delays
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA.
The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is set to sign off on regulations surrounding personal insolvency practitioners (PIPs) “in the coming days”, clearing the way for thousands of people to tackle insurmountable personal debt.
However, the move has done little to alleviate criticism from the Free Legal Advice Centres (Flac) which claimed continuing delays in the process has caused great distress for those awaiting help.
Director general Noeline Blackwell said hold-ups in clarifying regulations for prospective practitioners had in turn delayed those who wished to file personal insolvency applications.
She said that, despite the pending finality on the issue, applications for the process will be delayed into late July at least and possibly August, despite earlier indications it would be underway by Easter or by the end of this month.
“This needed doing, but it needed doing a while ago,” she said, adding that it was Flac’s anecdotal experience that in recent weeks debtors have come under increasing pressure from creditors with one eye on the impending insolvency service.
“Some of these are people who have been living with intolerable amounts of debt for months and even for years.”
Prospective personal insolvency practitioners must sit an exam and register for clearance in assisting those dealing with their financial burdens through a variety of means set out in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012.
Ms Blackwell said nobody could be certain how long it would take to process practitioner applications and, in turn, how this might further delay debtor applications.
However, the Department has defended the pace, saying a lot had been done in a short amount of time and stressing the need to do it right.