Bill published to plug gap in repossessions law

Thursday 28 March 2013 18.29
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Justice Minister publishes Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013
Justice Minister publishes Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013
Government commits to consultation on household water charges
Government commits to consultation on household water charges

The Government has this evening announced the publication of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013.

The Bill contains proposals for new safeguards which will mean that in any repossession proceedings of a person's home, the court may adjourn the proceedings in order to permit the drawing up of a Personal Insolvency Arrangement as an alternative to repossession.

It also confirms that certain statutory provisions that were repealed by the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 will continue to apply to mortgages created before the entry into force of that Act.

In a statement, the Justice Department said that the background to the legislation is a well-known 2011 case in which the High Court found that the repeal of certain provisions in the 2009 Act may have had the unintended consequence in certain cases of restricting lending institutions from asserting their repossession rights.

That judgment is now under appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department said that the proposed Bill's main purpose is to correct an unintended consequence of the reforming legislation enacted in 2009. The opportunity is also being taken to strengthen safeguards where repossession proceedings relate to a borrower's principal private residence or family home.

"What this Bill will do is to restore the law that has existed over the centuries which enables a lending institution to rely on its security in relation to a mortgage,'' commented Justice, Equality and Defence Minister Alan Shatter.

He said he is deeply aware of the issues that arise where repossession proceedings relate to family homes.

The Bill will be formally distributed to Dáil members early next week.

Its publication today meets a commitment made to the Troikia by the Government to publish the Bill by the end of this month.

Government commits to continue work on arrears & health costs

The Government published the latest version of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Troika.

The document commits Ireland to introduce or continue with further reforms of the banking and financial sector.

These include targets for the restructuring of mortgages that are in arrears, and permanent restructuring of debts in the SME sector.

It also commits the Commission for Energy Regulation to carry out a consultation on charging for household water supply with a view to the start of water charges by the end of the EU-IMF programme period, which finishes at the end of the year.

The Government is also committed to introducing an eHealth strategy, including a time-bound action plan for introducing eHealth systems, including an electronic prescription service.

It also calls for an increase in the use of generic drugs in the health system to reduce costs.