Healy -v- Stepstone Mortgage Funding Limited, [2014] IEHC 134 (2014)

Docket Number:2013 11503 P
Party Name:Healy, Stepstone Mortgage Funding Limited
Judge:Hogan J.

THE HIGH COURT [2013 No. 11503 P]




JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Hogan delivered the 19th March 2014

  1. The plaintiff is a customer of the defendant mortgage company (“Stepstone”) having taken out a mortgage in September 2007, of €120,000 in respect of a property in Co. Westmeath. As it happens, the plaintiff has fallen somewhat behind in his mortgage payments and in 2013 Stepstone commenced separate proceedings in respect of these arrears. Those separate proceedings are not before me and I refrain from expressing any view in respect of them.

  2. In these present proceedings, however, the plaintiff has sued Stepstone for what is described as “gross negligence and misrepresentation” which it is claimed has been orchestrated “by the mortgage company. The general endorsement of claim contends that Stepstone broke “serious liquidity laws which has caused the financial collapse” and it claims that by reason of this conduct the mortgage contract is “seriously flawed”. The plaintiff also claims damages for “reckless lending procedures” by Stepstone and it seeks a declaration that any liens or charges registered on the folio of the plaintiff’s family home otherwise secured by the mortgage be removed.

  3. By motion dated the 13th January, 2014, Stepstone applied to have these proceedings struck out pursuant to both O. 28, r. 18 and the Court’s inherent jurisdiction on the grounds that they disclose no reasonable cause of action. I have already ruled in Stepstone’s favour on this point and now give my reasons for this conclusion.

  4. In essence the plaintiff’s claim is that there exists in law a tort of reckless lending It is however, absolutely clear that there is no such common law tort of reckless lending. The matter has, in any event, been put beyond doubt by two recent decisions of this Court that have considered the matter in some detail.

  5. In ICS Building v. Grant [2010] IEHC 17, Charleton J. stated:

    “. . . the argued for tort of reckless lending does not exist in law as a civil wrong. It is not within the competence of the court to invent such a tort. Oireachtas could, if it saw fit, pass a law creating such a civil wrong. It is difficult to imagine the parameters of such a law since those who seek a loan will have different views to what should be borrowed, and if a loan is badly made by a bank, how can the issue of contribution be escaped from by the borrower who sought the...

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