Quinns apply to lift stay on IBRC proceedings

Monday 11 February 2013 17.10
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the IBRC Act had been passed into law yet no one could get a copy of it
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the IBRC Act had been passed into law yet no one could get a copy of it

Members of the Quinn family are to bring an application to the Commercial Court to lift a stay on legal proceedings provided for in the recently passed IBRC legislation.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the court was faced with "something of a conundrum" as the act does not appear to give the courts the power to lift the stay.

The judge said the IBRC Act had been passed into law, yet no one could get a copy of it.

This was an unsatisfactory situation, he said.

A section of the Act provided for an immediate stay on all proceedings against IBRC, and the Quinns were asking to bring an application seeking to have that stay lifted.

The judge said his first concern was that there was no jurisdiction in the Act to lift that stay, but there appeared to be provision to permit new proceedings.

It was unclear if the court had jurisdiction to hear the application.

The issues would have to be argued before the court he said, adding that this was the first of a number of cases against IBRC before the Commercial Court and the outcome would have implications for all litigation affected by the stay.

A hearing of the application will be held on 7 March next.

The Quinns' case against IBRC claims they are not liable for €2.34bn in loans which they claim were unlawfully given to prop up the bank's share price.

The case was due before the Commercial Court today to consider an application by the Quinns to join others to the case.

Counsel for the Quinns, Ross Aylward, said the family were seeking liberty to bring a motion asking the court to lift the stay on proceedings against the bank provided for in the new legislation.

He said the jurisdiction of the court to lift the stay would be a matter for debate.

Senior Counsel for the liquidator Paul Gallagher said there was no objection to the bringing of the application.

Mr Justice Kelly asked if anyone had been able to get a copy of the act as passed and was told by Paul Gallagher it was "not available at the moment".

The judge said it was "very unsatisfactory that we all have to work within an act and can't get a copy of it and we are left conjecturing as to whether there were any amendments" before it was passed.

He granted liberty to bring the application and said the court would have to construe the provisions of the act to see if there was jurisdiction to deal with the stay.

It was the first major litigation against the bank in the Commercial Court list to arise since the legislation, though there were many others which all appear to be captured by the stay, he said, adding that it would have implications for all litigation affected by the stay.