Launch Of ISI Public Information Campaign

Author:Mr Jason Harte and Declan Black
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

Yesterday the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and Director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland ("ISI"), Lorcan O'Connor, launched the ISI's public information campaign, which includes guides to the three new personal insolvency arrangements, its website and an information helpline for queries. Speaking at the launch, Minister Shatter indicated that the purpose of the new arrangements was to help restore people who are insolvent to solvency "in a fair, transparent and equitable way". Mr. O'Connor went on to confirm that the ISI was focused on making the personal insolvency arrangements available as quickly as possible. The ISI hopes to be in a position to begin accepting applications for arrangements at the end of June this year. Anticipated Take Up of New Arrangements Minister Shatter had previously indicated that his Department had estimated that there may be up to 15,000 applications for the two main debt resolution processes - Debt Settlement Arrangements and Personal Insolvency Arrangements - in the first year of their availability. He also estimated that there could be a further 3,000 to 4,000 applications for Debt Relief Notices and also expected some 3,000 bankruptcy applications during this time. He contrasted this with the fact that there were approximately 33 bankruptcy adjudications in 2011 and 35 in 2012. It will be interesting to see if so many debtors will require insolvency arrangements. Much will depend on the attitude of creditors to their debtors and on levels of cooperation between creditors. For many, it is preferable for both debtor and creditor to come to their own arrangement, as they will retain control of the process, avoid public scrutiny and public registers and private arrangements should cost less. However, if creditors or debtors adopt inflexible positions or if multiple creditors cannot agree a common position, then voluntary deals are harder to achieve. Regulation of Intermediaries The new personal insolvency arrangements will all require the involvement of an independent third party, be it in the form of an Approved Intermediary (AI) for the Debt Relief Notice (unsecured debt of less than20,000) or a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) for Debt Settlement Arrangements (unsecured debt over20,000) or Personal Insolvency Arrangements (unlimited unsecured debt and secured debt up to3 million). The ISI has indicated that it will shortly put in place a countrywide network of AIs and PIPs who...

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