Minister Alan Shatter announces package of Bankruptcy Reforms

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD, today announced the commencement of a package of bankruptcy reforms.

The Minister has signed the Rules of the Superior Courts (Bankruptcy) 2013, the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (Part 4) (Commencement) Order 2013 and Courts & Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (Part 7) (Commencement) Order 2013. Related regulations which have been made are the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (Prescribed Fees in Bankruptcy Matters) Regulations 2013 and Bankruptcy Act 1988 (Official Assignee Accounts and Related Matters) Regulations 2013.

Announcing the package of measures, Minister Shatter noted that “these measures complete the reform of our personal insolvency and bankruptcy legislation through the introduction of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 and the reform of the Bankruptcy Act 1988 and will address the circumstances of insolvent debtors. Critically, there will now be automatic discharge from bankruptcy after three years from the date of adjudication – a significant reduction from the current 12 years. Bankruptcies currently existing for three years or more at today’s date will be automatically discharged after a further six months have elapsed.” This latter extension is an initial transitional period intended to permit the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy or a creditor to object to a particular discharge from bankruptcy should circumstances warrant.

The Minister also drew attention to the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013, currently before the Dáil, which will introduce improvements to the operation of the new Debt Relief Notice insolvency process and also allow for a reduction in the costs associated in giving notice of bankruptcy by a person adjudicated bankrupt.

3 December 2013


Note for Editors:

Commencement of bankruptcy reform
On commencement of the reform of our bankruptcy legislation today (3 December, 2013) there are a total of 189 persons who have been adjudicated bankrupt by the court. Of this number, 73 persons have been in bankruptcy three years and over. Such persons will now be eligible for automatic discharge six months from today’s date, on completion of the initial transition period contained in section 157 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. This provision allows time for an objection to discharge to be entered by the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy or a creditor where they may consider such is warranted.

Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013
The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013, which is scheduled for Dáil Committee Stage examination on Thursday 5 December 2013, proposes amendments to sections 17, 105, 130, 140B and 141 of the Bankruptcy Act 1888. The amendments are similar in nature and have the objective of reducing the potential cost of giving notice of bankruptcy by a person adjudicated bankrupt by the court.

The essential change is the provision of a new option: that of using cost free, the website of the Insolvency Service of Ireland for the notice of bankruptcy in addition to Iris Oifigiúil. Currently only publication in Iris Oifigiúil and a daily newspaper circulating in the State are permitted by law. This change in regard to giving notice, could save a bankrupt person a considerable amount should they chose to avail of the new option.

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