Tracker mortgage scandal: Labour to introduce Bill allowing class action against banks

Willie Penrose says victims should be allowed collective legal action over issue

Willie Penrose said wronged tracker mortgage customers deserved to be able to take a collective action. File photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

Willie Penrose said wronged tracker mortgage customers deserved to be able to take a collective action. File photograph: Cyril Byrne /The Irish Times

 

Longford-Westmeath Labour TD Willie Penrose will introduce a Private Members’ Bill in the Dáil next week allowing wronged tracker mortgage customers take legal action against the banks.

Tens of thousands of homeowners have potentially been caught up in the scandal, which saw banks wrongly refuse customers access to tracker mortgages after the crash. Some of those who were overcharged went on to struggle to meet their repayments, and some lost their homes through repossession.

The Courts (Multi Party Actions) Bill 2017 would provide for a class action suit, a procedural device permitting one or more plaintiffs to file and prosecute a law suit on behalf of a larger group.

Mr Penrose, a barrister, said cases like that are not currently permissible under Irish laws.

“These type of cases will lower litigation costs for those seeking justice from the wrongdoings of the banks,’’ he added.

Mr Penrose said on Sunday wronged customers deserved to be able to take a collective action, rather than thousands of customers going in and out of the courts on the same issue.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said recently the Government may allow class action suits to be taken in Ireland in the aftermath of the tracker scandal.

Mr Donohoe has said the majority of those already identified by the Central Bank as being affected by the tracker mortgage scandal would receive compensation by the end of the year, with thousands more expected to be told if they are entitled to compensation by December.

The Central Bank will decide in December if sufficient progress is being made.