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National Land League - Court Supports

The Land League is reborn and will work with you to save your home or business from the banks. If you are in debt, if the bank is threatening to take you to court, you are not alone. Over 100,000 families are facing the same harassment. Alone you are weak, with the Land League you are strong. We ask that before you decide to hand over the keys of your home or business, before you agree to personal insolvency and before the banks initiate court proceedings, contact the Land League. We will provide you with free advice and assistance and will be with you every step of the way. You can contact the Louth Land League on the number below. All calls are strictly confidential and are treated with understanding and kindness. Together we are strong. The Louth Land League – 0894740811 (The Louth Land League is an associate branch of the National Land League)
  1. A celebration

     

     

    (This article was updated one day after publication: additions at end of article)

     

    There’s been a con going on in our Circuit Courts for the last few years. It’s a con that the courts, the legal profession and the banks have all been in on together and the veracity of the claim that it has been a con emerged today from the High Courts and a ruling by Ms. Justice Murphy.

    Over the years, in an effort at putting efficiency before the rules of the court, the banks have been applying to the Circuit Courts for possession Orders on family homes. The Circuit Court rules are clear that only matters involving less than €75,000 can be heard in the Circuit Court. Now we know most houses are still worth more than €75,000 and to circumvent the rule the banks have, with the complicity of court Registrar’s and the legal industry, been allowing family home possession applications into the Circuit Courts claiming that the rateable value of the property is within the rules as, they claim, the rateable value of the property is under €253 odd. Today’s ruling by Ms. Justice Murphy simply blows the rateable value argument out of the water.

    A home does not have a rateable value and has not had a rateable value since the early 1970s. Activists have been arguing this around the country but their arguments have been falling on deaf ears until now. Today 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, 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 today’s 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.

    We in the National Land League and other groups are not naïve however and we know that it will be the impulse and attitude of the banks, their legal partners and indeed the courts to press on regardless. We must not allow this to happen and the ruling by Ms. Justice Murphy must be enforced primarily by all of the lay-litigants across the country that up until now have been trampled upon.

    On a final note, if you are made aware of any attempts to circumvent this ruling within the courts please contact the National Land League, the Hub-Ireland and other groups to let us know. We expect arguments to be made by “the other side” that they are using the Poor Law Valuation (Griffith’s valuation) to enter the Circuit Court. This has been tried before. The PLV was deemed unconstitutional by the High Court in 1981 and this was upheld on Appeal to the Supreme Court. Once more, congratulations to The Hub-Ireland on a ground-shaking result today.

     

    N.B.... update : A deeper analysis of the "Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank  -and- Laura Finnegan and Christopher Ward" case within 24 hours of it's reading from the bench reveals a numberof exclusions within this judgement and accordingly the author of this article  adds the following...

    To clarify some details about yesterday's great win in the High Court regarding applications to the Circuit Court for possession Orders on family homes and the jurisdiction level of 75k. Having read the Judgement in its entirety a number of times now, the ruling has most significance for those who took out their mortgages between 2001 and 2009, and in which the bank's initiated proceedings prior to the 31st of July 2013 (the date that the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Amendment Act 2013 took effect).

     

    For those whom the bank have initiated proceedings after the 31/8/13, the ruling is not so clear in that the 2013 Amendment to the LCLRA 2009 changed the law by facilitating banks to initiate home possession cases in the circuit courts despite there being no rateable valuation (the amendment claims to enact a provision from the LCLRA 2009 retrospectively to include mortgages pre-2009).

     

    Where the bank has stated that they have relied on a rateable valuation post 31/8/13 it is strong argument to say that they still cannot rely on this (possibly 50% of current cases). For those whom the bank have initiated proceedings post the 31/8/13, and in which the bank has not claimed to rely on the rateable value for Circuit Court jurisdiction, do not be downhearted as there are a number of possible avenues to push this over the line for you too.

     

    The 2013 amendment is facing a constitutional challenge as we speak because it is essentially retrospective law which is an abomination to the basic principles of law. It would also appear where the loan was an equity release on a property already paid for and not for the purpose of buying a domestic dwelling, and in which the home was used as security and not a "housing loan mortgage" (this is the type of loan the LCLRA 2009 clause refers to), and this is where most older people have been trapped, the case must be heard in the High Court..... Analysis of the Judgement continues.........

  2. A balance of prob

     

    Over one hundred thousand home owners and hundreds of thousands of their family members awaited yesterday's government announcement regarding mortgage arrears with hopeful expectation. They had been waiting for and expecting the announcement of solutions to their home mortgage distress since the economic "crash" began in 2008 and yesterday was, according to government sources, to be that day. Instead, what was announced with fanfare was a half-hearted attempt to placate the dispossessed until after the next general election.

    Examining the "changes" one by one, they amount to an extra adjournment or two for homeowners in the courts, an added few months of partial relief before what most financial advisors, Personal Insolvency Practitioners and solicitors will tell  the struggling home owner (after they've relieved them of their last few shillings) is the inevitable loss of home. Empowering Judges and Registrars to over-rule the bank’s veto on debt deals that they view as reasonable and fair is a toothless move as our experience from the courts tell us that what a member of the judiciary thinks is fair and reasonable still mean loss of home for most who do not have two, three or four properties to use in the negotiation game, and no Judge has nor will see it as meet and just that the bank allow a family stay in the mortgaged home to the material loss of the bank. It just won't happen because it is not, in the eyes of the law, fair and reasonable.

    The Judicial veto in effect refers to Personal Insolvency Proposals, examinership of sorts where the home owner's assets are stripped from them, balanced against their "debt" and what's leftover the homeowners can have. It usually means loss of home as that's the only real asset the homeowner has. We expect that Judicially imposed "deals" for most will involve loss of home but the wiping of residual debt. It will also mean years of poverty for the compliant family with every red cent of income above the means threshold given to the bank. At review time the bank can pull the plug on the deal and one missed repayment means back to square one. That's personal insolvency for you and any other type of home mortgage deal that we have come across, including outrageous "split" mortgages being offered to some home owners at the moment.

    Yesterday Government also announced that the role of MABS would be expanded but what does that actually mean? MABS currently advises people on how to budget better to meet the bills, and they assist home owners to complete financial statements and set up payment plans. Ultimately, when it comes to home mortgage arrears, all MABS can do, after the budgeting advice, is offer you more budgeting advice, but there's not much home owners have to budget when their purses are empty other than relay that advice on to the moths fluttering around in the said purse.

    Addressing the mortgage-to-rent tag-on at the end of yesterday's announcements on home mortgage arrears, one must ask oneself if the Banks would be better landlords than mortgage debt collectors? Will a change of nominal status inculcate them with a deep sense of compassion and caring that was not there the day before? There has been some talk about Local Authorities becoming the landlords instead of the banks, another potential case of private banking responsibilities being thrust upon the shoulders of the public.

    On a final note about the latest under-whelming announcements by Government regarding home mortgage arrears, a number of commentators and pundits with shameful sincerity flung their arms to the heavens yesterday asking "well what is the alternative?". They reasoned in a limited fashion that as some of the banks are government "owned" they can't take the loss. Those pundits are right, the government, in other words we the people (you wouldn't think it though) shouldn't take the loss, but the organisation that created the Euros (the credit line) in the first place, the steel cold men and women of the ECB, should take the perceived loss or hit. It was the ECB that ultimately facilitated the creation of all that credit during the 2000s, it was the ECB that forced the taxpayer to fund the banks losses, and in the end it will be the ECB that foots the bill rather than the Irish home owner. We in the National Land League will not rest until this comes to pass.

  3. A shylock
    Local Legal Firms Acting like Shylocks 
     
    Most home owners under threat of losing their home will be brought into the local Circuit Courts by their bank if no resolution can be found outside of court. In nearly all of these cases the banks engage major Dublin legal firms to manage the cases, and they in turn farm the cases out to local, and all being said lecherous, solicitors. In the past these firms have been using the local courts like eviction factory lines, making money hand over fist as they evict poor families to the road without a thought. In their haste, and safe in the knowledge that no-one knew or cared, they became so complacent they didn't even bother to attach the relevant paperwork to their applications and a willing body of Registrar's and Judges were apathetic enough to allow such serious ommissions to pass.
     
    Since anti-eviction groups have started to attend the local Registrar's and Circuit courts there is little doubt the local legal firms have been forced to up their game. One particularly noticable change in the behaviours of local Registrar's, and as a result solicitors too, regards the presentation of original mortgage agreement documents to the court, or at the very least certified copies of those documents presented on affidavit. It simply wasn't being done and is only being done now as a result of home owners, with the support of anti-eviction groups, insisting on the presence of such documents in the local courts.
     
    Registrars, it has been noticed of late, are asking for such documents regularly during their case lists (although greater uniformity of procedures would be appreciated). Unfortunately, in too many of those cases (or from our point of view not enough) the solicitors continue to try to dupe the court, taking the chance the Registrar will not ask in their particular case, a game of statistics and numbers in their minds. For homeowners attending the court and willing to speak up this can be a bonus, another opportunity for an adjournment. On the other hand, if the home owner hasn't come to court out of fear and despair, and the Registrar doesn't ask, the local solicitor will have won the dupe and a home will have been lost.
     
    There is an important overall lesson in all of this and that is that the more eyes that are on what local solicitors are doing in and to their communities, the less successful they will be. Attend your local Registrar's court even if your home is not in danger. Your presence improves your community and the lives of others. No prior knowledge is required.
     
  4.  
    Moneybloom
     
    Moneybloom are making the news recently. Apparently, according to media reports, they are now insolvent and furthermore are under investigation regarding fraud. Moneybloom, on the face of it, promoted themselves as an organisation that helped home owners resolve their mortgage debt woes but it would appear in reality were insurance brokers. Clare Dooley, head honcho at the now defunct and disarmed Moneybloom, had been on national radio and even television offering their services for quite some time now and as a result Moneybloom were the referral of choice for most local and national politicians, despite concerns voiced by anti-eviction groups. 
     
    Below.... Clare Dooley (probably not smiling as much these days)
     
    Clare Dooley Moneybloom
     
    Reports from home owners who came to the National League day centres after being let down by Moneybloom are all similar and unnerving: when they went looking for help their finances were assessed and if there was no money for insurance there was no "help", they were simply left in limbo, and that is if they were lucky. Furthermore, homeowners have reported that they were asked for unusual personal information such as mother's maiden names and the likes; their files were "sent" to New Beginning without their consent ("disappeared" may be the better word), and we know what New Beginning have been up to; some home owners on requesting their files were told they had already been returned to them even though earlier they were informed their files were "sent" to new beginning (just a reminder of "disappeared"); in one case home owners were defamed by a senior Moneybloom "executive" when they insisted on the return of their file.
     
    So what do you do now if you were with Moneybloom and they've left you hanging? It might be advisable that if you are in court in the near future you inform the court that you will need a lengthy adjournment to establish exactly how progressed in your case Moneybloom actually were. If you haven't reached the court yet, try to get your file off Moneybloom, but do not pay them for your file (it has been reported to us that some home owners have been asked for E500 in the last week by Moneybloom for their files). They are your files. They have let you down. You have a right to them, that's if they still have them. If you have not received your files within two weeks it may be important that you inform your bank of the problem and that you are now seeking new independent counsel and ask for forbearance and time. Then contact the National Land League of Ireland. Contact details are on the website www.nationallandleague.org
  5. An eviction notice
     
    Often times at the National Land League we have spoken about the "Tsunami" of evictions looming in Ireland. We have spoken about how hundreds of thousands of men, women and children face eviction over the coming two years. We had been commenting in the future tense, about what is coming. Things have changed dramatically over the last number of weeks.
     
    At 8.30 am last Thursday morning one of our Louth Volunteers received a call from a lady that was to say the least distraught. Apparently it took ten minutes to calm her to the level that she could speak. She had just received a letter from the Sheriff's office to say she is to be evicted alongside her ill husband and daughter. She spoke of "going to the river". Over the day our volunteers calmed her and outlined a strategy to try to address the threatened eviction, and in keeping with her wishes to do so without fuss if possible. We remain in daily contact with the lady.

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