The High Court in Dublin (top), Laura Finnegan, and Justice Deirdre Murphy
Or does it?
Yesterday, Land League member Finbar Markey, wrote on the website Fair Society that, for years, banks have been applying to Circuit Courts for possession orders on family homes, most of which are worth more than €75,000.
Mr Markey said banks have doing this even though Circuit Court rules state that only matters involving less than €75,000 can be heard in the Circuit Court.
Mr Markey said the banks have been circumventing the rules by claiming the rateable value of the property is below the threshold – approximately €253 or less.
However, Mr Markey said a ruling in the High Court yesterday, by Ms Justice Murphy, put an end to this in one particular case concerning Laura Finnegan.
Mr Markey writes:
“In the High Court a jubilant appellant, appealing an Order of Possession on her home from the Circuit Court, and with the advice, support and backing of the Hub-Ireland [a group which assists people with mortgage difficulties] broke the mould.
In her judgement Ms. Justice Murphy said, ”The plaintiff maintained that it had invoked and was entitled to the provisions of the valuation act and a letter issued by the Valuations office was sufficient: both these assertions are manifestly unfounded on the evidence…….it appears to the court on evidence that the plaintiff have devised and used an ad hoc non-statutory process which is devoid of legal effect, for the purpose of persuading the Circuit Court that it has jurisdiction which it does not in fact enjoy’.”
“So what are the implications of [the] ruling? Firstly, we can expect that banks will be left with no choice but to withdraw their current applications in the Circuit Courts for possession of family homes. If you are in court over the next while demand a strike out. If an Order has been made on your home, it can be considered null and void and as having never existed. Contact your local Sheriff over the next few days and ask what the ruling means for you, meanwhile the various anti-eviction groups around the country will be forwarding the judgement to all Registrar’s and Sheriff’s and requesting their current position in light of the ruling.”