Judge criticises legal advice to people representing themselves

High Court judge asks if those fighting repossession got advice from friends or internet

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan dismissed several actions brought by people representing themselves aimed at challenging repossession orders.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan dismissed several actions brought by people representing themselves aimed at challenging repossession orders.

 

A High Court judge has criticised the quality of certain legal advice being given to persons representing themselves in challenges to repossession orders made by the Circuit Court.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan made the comments on Monday after he dismissed several similar but unrelated actions aimed at challenging repossession orders made by Circuit Court judges.

Each of the cases were brought by people representing themselves without a solicitor or barrister.

The applicants sought permission to bring High Court judicial review challenges to decisions by Circuit Court judges granting repossession orders for properties, including family homes, in favour of financial institutions.

A common ground raised in these actions was alleged failure by financial institutions seeking repossession orders to provide adequate evidence concerning ownership of the debt allegedly owed to them, the judge said.

That and other grounds in the applications were “not suitable for judicial review”, he said.

The possession orders should instead be appealed to the High Court when they would be heard “de novo”, from the beginning, he said.

‘Misinformation’

The judge asked some of the applicants if they had got legal advice concerning their cases from “a friend” or “from the internet”.

The court was told by a number of the personal litigants they had got advice from a “friend”, whose name was not disclosed to the court, when putting their challenges together.

The judge remarked there is “a lot of misinformation out there”, adding such advice could damage a person’s chance of bringing an appeal against Circuit Court orders.

He told one couple who brought a challenge he sympathised and felt sorry for them given the situation they had found themselves in. While they were clearly “decent people”, he had no alternative but to dismiss their application, he said.