Members of the Quinn family have asked the High Court to lift freezing orders placed on their assets and bank accounts.

Lawyers for the Quinns said an undertaking given for damages by IBRC's liquidator should the bank lose its case against them was "worthless" because it is insolvent.

Senior Counsel Martin Hayden said because of the freezing orders, the Quinns' lives were on hold. A number of complex legal actions cannot proceed until after criminal prosecutions against former Anglo officials.

There was "no end to how long this may be delayed", he said.

Mr Hayden said the issues to be dealt with by the court in this application were "new country and untravelled road" because the undertaking for damages was given by a bank which is in liquidation.

While the Quinns were unable to do anything, with frezing orders over each of them, IBRC was "busily trying to take in and effect the sale of assets", he said.

If these assets were to be transferred to third parties such as NAMA, the Quinns could not sue to recover them.

If the Quinns were to win their main case against the bank, in which they allege illegal lending, then they would have been entitled all along to control subsidiary companies within the International Property Group over which the freezing orders have been placed.

Mr Hayden said IBRC had adopted a deliberate strategy of taking separate proceedings against the Quinns instead of entering a counter claim to the main case.

This had effectively sterilised the Quinns' ability to do anything, he said.

The injuctions were secured by IBRC as part of its case alleging an asset stripping conspiracy by the Quinns.

In its main action against the bank, the Quinns claim the former Anglo Irish bank made illegal loans to Quinn companies to prop up the banks shares.

They say the bank is not entitled to claim security for these loans over the family's International Property Group.

If they win their case they say the freezing orders are preventing them from doing what they were entitled to do all along.

An undertaking of €5m for damages in the event they win was insufficient and would need to be fortified if the freezing orders are not lifted.

The case continues before Mr Justice Peart.