Seven companies within the Zoe Group controlled by property developer Liam Carroll have launched a fresh bid for court protection.

At an unusual sitting of the High Court late last night, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera, gave permission to counsel for the companies to present a petition for examinership to the court under a little used provision of company law.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court dismissed Vantive Holdings, Morston Investments and four other Zoe Group companies' appeal against the Commercial Court's decision not to appoint an examiner to them.

The companies had originally sought court protection from ACC Bank, which is seeking the repayment of €136m of debt, but the courts ruled they had not provided enough proof that the companies have a reasonable prospect of survival.

At 9.30pm last night Michael Cush, Senior Counsel for the six companies and a seventh called Royceton, submitted new evidence.

It included letters of support from some of the companies' banks, up-to-date valuations of their property assets, affidavits of support from employees, a new independent accountants report and an economist's analysis on economic prospects.

Mr Cush also said Mr Carroll had been hospitalised and was not in a position to give legal instructions at present.

A solicitor for ACC, which has appointed a liquidator to two of the companies and a receiver to four, claimed the proceedings could prejudice her clients.

While Mr Justice de Valera expressed reservations about accepting a rehashed examinership application he said that he needed to be satisfied the evidence was indeed new and could not have been submitted earlier.

He accepted the petition on condition it would be probed further on Thursday and that in the interim the companies would take no action to hinder the liquidator and receiver's work.