Flac welcomes new legal scheme for mortgage debt
Support system will help those at risk of losing their homes, director claims
Noeline Blackwell, director of Flac, has welcomed a new legal scheme for people in mortgage debt. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
A new legal support scheme for people in mortgage debt has been welcomed as a necessary measure for those at risk of losing their homes.
“Until now, there has been a dreadful failure of access to justice for poor people at risk of losing their homes,” said the director of the Free Legal Advice Centre (Flac) Noeline Blackwell.
“This is one of the most significant legal events in any person’s life and they should not be left to handle this on their own against powerful, well-resourced lenders.”
She said that, while some people in this situation had been able to get support from advocacy groups, what was needed is a State-organised system that is available to people all over the country.
“If the details fulfil the promise of the announcement, this scheme . . . may fill what has been a scandalous gap.”
Advice and assistance
Those who qualify for the scheme will be able to get advice and assistance from solicitors, drawn from panels that will be set up by the Legal Aid Board, at a fixed cost.
There will also be greater assistance and representation for insolvent borrowers in repossession proceedings involving their homes, via a panel of “duty solicitors”, operated by the Legal Aid Board.
This will be provided without cost to an insolvent borrower, under a “voucher” system.