Retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife Dr Mary Patricia O'Donnell are personally liable for the legal costs of their failed bid to have their bankruptcy annulled, the High Court has ruled.

The decision means the costs cannot be drawn from the assets of their bankrupt estate and they will have to bear the bill for their application, which Bank of Ireland opposed.  

Mr O'Donnell represented himself and his wife during the application.

Last month, Ms Justice Caroline Costello found that the O'Donnells had not advanced any new evidence as a basis for an annulment of the 2013 bankruptcy obtained against them by Bank of Ireland, which is owed €71.5m.

Judge Costello said that far from there being compelling reasons to annul the bankruptcy, "no grounds" had been advanced by the O'Donnells to support a conclusion they ought not have been adjudicated bankrupt.

The costs issue and related orders were back before Ms Justice Costello when there was no appearance by or on behalf of the O'Donnells.

The judge said she would have to deal with the matter.

After hearing arguments from the barrister for Bank Of Ireland, Mark Sanfey, that the bankrupt estate should not have to bear the costs of the failed annulment application, the judge agreed the O'Donnells should be made personally liable.

Mr Sanfey argued, if the costs were to be charged against the bankrupt estate, it "would be a charter for bankrupts to make vexatious applications knowing they would not get costs orders against them".