Master went 'beyond his remit'

 

THE MASTER of the High Court was acting outside his functions when he refused to transfer an application for possession to the High Court list, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne found yesterday.

The judge said that it was not part of the master’s role “to consider defence”.

“That is my function,” she said, “not his function.”

The master, Edmund Honohan SC, deals with pre-trial matters before transferring cases to chancery summonses and other civil lists at the High Court.

Yesterday, Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd appealed against a decision by the master to strike out an application seeking an order for possession instead of transferring it to the chancery summonses list.

Ulster Bank argued that Mr Honohan had “gone beyond his remit”; proofs were in order for the case, but he had “proceeded to adjudicate” on it.

The judge explained that the bank’s application was simply to have the case transferred to her list and any defence could be discussed when the case went ahead.

“If the papers are in order it is the master’s function to transfer the proceedings to the judge’s list,” she said.

Ms Justice Dunne said she could send the papers back to the master and instruct him to reinstate them on the list, but that would be “a waste of time and money”, so instead she would simply add the case to her list.

She instructed the borrower to put his defence on affidavit and scheduled the case for October.

Of the 78 cases listed yesterday, five orders for possession were granted ; two to GE Capital Woodchester Homeloans and one each to ACCBank, Nua Mortgages and Start Mortgages Ltd.