Home repossessions Bill passed in Dáil

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter rejects a number of opposition amendments

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said “we are putting in place an interesting and important architecture which will allow the courts to assess the bona fides not just of those against whom repossession orders are sought, but also of those who seek such orders”.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said “we are putting in place an interesting and important architecture which will allow the courts to assess the bona fides not just of those against whom repossession orders are sought, but also of those who seek such orders”.

Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 01:11


Legislation to address a gap in the law resulting in the suspension of home repossessions was passed in the Dáil.

The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill, which some opposition TDs claimed was a charter for house repossessions was passed by 91 votes to 42.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said “we are putting in place an interesting and important architecture which will allow the courts to assess the bona fides not just of those against whom repossession orders are sought, but also of those who seek such orders”.

In the remaining stages of the debate yesterday Mr Shatter rejected a number of Opposition amendments. One required a judge, before granting a repossession order, to consider whether the bank had rejected a proposal by a personal insolvency practitioner. It also required the judge to take into account whether a mortgage holder was given a chance to appeal any rejection by the bank.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said that day in day out banks adopted a high -handed, draconian approach to dealing with people in distress.

He said the banks had not acted reasonably. “Will they act reasonably from now on with the passage of this legislation? I believe the answer is No.”

Mr Shatter said, however, that the legislation had not yet been passed but “even now judges are adjourning proceedings in order to give individuals experiencing difficulties an opportunity to resolve them. In recent cases a number of judges actually encouraged engagement.”

He added that “judges have all sorts of wonderful ways of relaying messages to people whom they believe to be recalcitrant”. He said they might show reluctance to grant orders of possession where the lender was behaving unreasonably.

The Bill reinstates aspects of old legislation, removed when the 2009 Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act was passed.