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Bankruptcy Term Officially Reduced From 12 to 3 Years Today

Full suite of solutions now available to help people return to solvency

3 December 2013:

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) welcomes the new bankruptcy legislation which took effect today. The commencement of this legislation, announced today by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, completes the suite of solutions to restore insolvent people to solvency.

Key features of this legislation include:

  • A reduction in the length of bankruptcy from 12 years to 3 years;
  • The transfer of the Office of the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy from the Courts Service to the ISI;
  • The requirement for debtors to show they have made reasonable efforts to avail of a Debt Settlement Arrangement or a Personal Insolvency Arrangement in order to be eligible for bankruptcy. 

"This is good news for people who are struggling with personal debt," said Lorcan O’Connor, ISI Director. "We now have a full suite of debt solutions available to people who are insolvent that will ensure they can return to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way."

"Having the bankruptcy process become part of the Insolvency Service makes it easier for debtors as there is now a single point of contact for anyone dealing with over-indebtedness," said Mr. O’Connor. "It enables the ISI to administer all debt solutions from one place, improving efficiencies and streamlining the process."

The Office of the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy, which is now based in the ISI, welcomed today’s commencement measures, which bring Ireland into line with international best practice.

"We now have a viable bankruptcy solution for debtors in financial difficulty," said Mr. Christopher Lehane, Official Assignee in Bankruptcy. "With the bankruptcy period now reduced to three years, debtors are more likely to engage with a process which shields them from creditors and leaves them debt free after three years. I am satisfied that there are adequate safeguards in the reform measures that only those who cannot pay can avail of bankruptcy."

 "We have increased our bankruptcy staff numbers four-fold, recruited experts from the insolvency sector, and are acquiring a specialist insolvency IT system to assist us manage a high volume of cases. We expect a significant rise in bankruptcies, particularly by debtors who make up 85 per cent of applicants in the UK," said Mr. Lehane.

Further to this, the ISI welcomes the news published last week that the costs of bankruptcy are set to be almost halved according to proposed legislation. The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013, when enacted, will reduce the costs from approximately €1,350 to €800 by removing the current requirement of a person to pay for an advert regarding their own bankruptcy in a national newspaper. Under the proposed legislation, information regarding a person’s bankruptcy can be published on the ISI’s website, at no cost. Notification of the bankruptcy must still be placed in Iris Oifigiúil (the State gazette).

To help people understand all the options available to them, a leaflet covering the full suite of ISI debt solutions (Debt Relief Notice, Debt Settlement Arrangement, Personal Insolvency Arrangement and Bankruptcy) has been circulated to public libraries, Citizens Information Centres and MABS offices around the country. It is also available on the ISI website (http://www.isi.gov.ie/), together with  ‘A Debtor’s Guide to Bankruptcy ’and new bankruptcy scenarios.

For those who would like to find out more about bankruptcy and how the ISI can help, call the ISI’s Information Line on 076 106 4200 or visit www.isi.gov.ie

ENDS


NOTES FOR EDITORS


For media queries please contact:
Judith Kieran, Ph: 086-3687881
John Warren, Ph: 076 106 4248
Email: press@isi.gov.ie 

About Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI)
The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 was signed into law on 26 December 2012. The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is an independent statutory body established under the aegis of the Department of Justice and Equality. The Insolvency Service of Ireland helps restore people who are insolvent to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way. The ISI was established by Ministerial Order on 1st of March, 2013.

Public engagement with ISI: some useful statistics
Since the ISI launched its information campaign in April 2013, it has received over 6,500 phonecalls, over 100,000 unique website visits and almost 2,000 email enquiries.

About the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy
The Courts Act 2013 merges the Office of the Official Assignee with the Insolvency Service of Ireland, whilst retaining the independent statutory position of the Official Assignee under the Bankruptcy Act 1988, as administrator of bankruptcies and being answerable to a High Court Judge.
 
ISI Timeline 2013

 Month  Action
 March  ISI formally established
 April  Launch of ISI Information Campaign
 June Publication of Regulations governing authorisation of Approved Intermediaries and Personal Insolvency Practitioners
  July  Passing of Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013
  Appointment of Specialist Judges
 August/September  ISI begins authorising Approved Intermediaries and Personal Insolvency Practitioners
   ISI announces start date for applications for new debt reliefs
 October/November  First Protective Certificates issued for Debt Settlement Arrangement and Personal Insolvency Arrangements
 December/January 2014  First Debt Settlement Arrangement/Personal Insolvency Arrangements (approximately 70 days after Protective Certificate issued) in place

Table of fees associated with insolvency solutions

A summary of the fees associated with the suite of insolvency solutions is below. Further details of all ISI fees are available here: http://www.isi.gov.ie/en/ISI/Page s/fees

ISI/OA   Fee   Other Fees[1]  Comment
Debt Relief Notice (DRN)  €100   No fee is charged by the Approved Intermediary   €100 total cost
Debt Settlement Arrangement
(DSA)
€250   Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) fee

 Some PIPs are not charging an upfront fee.

The bulk/all of the PIP fees will come from the contributions by the debtor to the agreed arrangement (in effect funded by the creditor(s)). 

Personal Insolvency Arrangement
(PIA) 
€500   Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) fee  Some PIPs are not charging an upfront fee.  The bulk/all of the PIP fees will come from the contributions by the debtor to the agreed arrangement (in effect funded by the creditor(s)). [2] 
Bankruptcy  €650 

Stamp duty of €102.50 is payable [3].

 

Newspaper advert cost approximately €500[4]


 

 Stamp duty covers the Petition and sworn Affidavit (incorporating a Statement of Affairs).

A Debtor may wish to seek legal advice at his or her own expense.

 


[1] All of the arrangements require a written, signed and witnessed statement (either Statutory Declaration or Affidavit) in the presence of a person authorised to witness such declaration such as a practising solicitor, peace commissioner, commissioner for oaths or notary public which will incur a nominal fee.

[2] Please visit the Publications Section of the ISI website where various scenarios can be found which illustrate PIP fees and how they might be paid over the lifetime of an arrangement

[3] This amount increases by €20 in circumstances where a creditor petitions to make you bankrupt.

[4] The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 contains a provision which, when enacted, will provide an alternative to the requirement to advertise details of a petition for bankruptcy in a national newspaper.  The provision provides for a person to publish details of the bankruptcy on the ISI website, at no cost.