Master of the High Court to no longer deal with debt cases

Debt cases are no longer to be dealt with by the Master of the High Court following an order by the court’s President, The Times reports.

Edmund Honohan, whose role is non-judicial, deals with as many as 200 cases a week concerning debt.

But Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday signed an order to end this function. The cases will instead be assigned to a High Court judge from February 4.

Mr Honohan has been a critic of how a number of banks have dealt with repossessions and drafted a bill intended to help people in such cases. It would give non-profit housing providers the right of first refusal on buying the security on homes that are in mortgage arrears.

Last year he defended his attendance at a supper with a group that included Ben Gilroy, an anti-eviction activist who was jailed this month for not complying with a High Court order. 

But Mr Honohan said he would “talk to anyone in the interests of ensuring that eviction of families is the last resort”.

is workload will now be reduced but he will still deal with a range of pre-trial applications in High Court proceedings as well as applications to join parties to proceedings.

David Hall, who campaigns on behalf of distressed mortgage holders, said in a statement: “Today’s decision to remove the debt cases from the master’s list is a bad day for debtors.

“Ed Honohan has been one of the few officials who has spoken the truth about banks’ behaviour and has tried to help those crippled with debt.”

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