Ireland: Welcome Clarity On Receiver Appointments – Woods v Ulster Bank Ireland Limited, Meagher And Trueick [2017] IEHC 155

Last Updated: 24 May 2017
Article by Jamie Ensor and David O’Shea

Most Read Contributor in Ireland, July 2017


The decision of Ms. Justice Baker, delivered on 21st February, 2017, in Woods v Ulster Bank Ireland Limited, Meagher and Trueick has provided some welcome clarity around issues relating to the appointment of a receiver by lenders.

This judgment considered four key legal questions, namely:

  1. whether the standard form mortgage and charge documents (collectively referred to as the Security Documents), as used by Ulster Bank Ireland Limited (UBIL), contained a power on the part of UBIL to appoint a receiver;
  1. whether the power to appoint a receiver is dependent upon the continuation in force at the date of appointment of the relevant provisions of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act 1881 (the 1881 Act);
  1. whether UBIL was entitled to appoint a receiver before it was registered as owner of the charge on one of the properties; and
  1. whether the deeds of appointment were properly executed.

For the purposes of this note we will focus on the questions raised at (a), (b) and (c) above.


Mr. Patrick Woods (the Plaintiff) owned three properties in Ireland. Each property was secured in favour of UBIL. During 2013 UBIL appointed joint receivers (the second and third named defendants) over the three properties.

The Plaintiff issued proceedings seeking various reliefs, to include, inter alia, an order to set aside the appointment of the joint receivers. He also sought damages against UBIL for breach of contract and against all three defendants for breach of fiduciary duty.

The High Court Decision

In reaching her decision, Ms. Justice Baker found as follows:

  1. the Security Documents did not contain any express provision for the appointment of a receiver or any express incorporation by reference of the relevant provisions of the 1881 Act. However, on a proper construction of the Security Documents, she found that the Security Documents contained a contractual power on the part of UBIL to appoint a receiver. The Court made reference to the fact that the Security Documents contained a number of references to "any receiver appointed";
  2. the exercise of the contractual power to appoint a receiver was not dependent on the continuation in force of section 19 of the 1881 Act (section vests a statutory power in the holder of a mortgage to appoint a receiver). It was also noted that while the 1881 Act was repealed on 1 December 2009 it was later restored by the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013;
  3. UBIL did not require, as a matter of law, to be registered as owner of the charge in order to exercise the contractual right to appoint a receiver; and
  4. the deeds of appointment were properly executed.

In relation to points (a) and (b) above, Baker J. referred to the earlier High Court decision of Dowdall & McNamara v O'Connor & O'Connor1 in which Mr. Justice McDermott noted that on the proper construction of the mortgage agreement, the provisions of section 19 of the 1881 Act applied. McDermott J. also held that the provisions of the 1881 Act contained in the mortgage agreement continued to apply to the agreement, notwithstanding the fact that the 1881 Act had since been repealed, where the power is a contractual one. This line of reasoning was upheld by the Supreme Court Kavanagh & Bank of Scotland plc v McLaughlin & McLaughlin. 2

In relation to point (c) above, Baker J. followed the earlier decision of Mr. Justice Feeney in McEnery v Sheahan McEnery3 where he considered the operative date for the registration of a charge. Mr. Justice Feeney held in McEnery that the registration is deemed effective from the date of application for registration. In the present case, Baker J. also pointed to Rule 63 of the Land Registration Rules 1972, the effect of which is that registration is deemed to be completed "as of day on which the instrument or application is received for registration" and not the date on which the charge is registered. Furthermore, it was noted that the joint receivers were appointed under a contractual power and, therefore, it was not required that at the time of the exercise of that power that the UBIL charge be registered.

As regards point (d) above, Baker J. concluded that the execution of deeds of appointment under powers of attorneys where the donees were authorised "to sign or otherwise execute and deliver" a range of documents, including all documents relating to the exercise of the powers of UBIL on foot of any security held, complied with the execution requirements prescribed by s. 24(1) of the 1881 Act (i.e. "by writing under ...hand.").

Significance of the Decision

This is an important decision that will provide some helpful clarity to lenders considering the appointment of a receiver. This judgment affirms the position set out in Kavanagh and resolves any confusion that resulted following the High Court decision in Harrington v Gulland Property Finance Limited & Stephen Tennant4, in that if a lender (including, for example, a loan portfolio acquiring special purpose vehicle) appoints a receiver under the contractual powers to do so in a mortgage / charge, then that appointment of the receiver is valid even where the charge itself may not have yet been registered on the folio. By necessary extension, the same contractual right would entitle an appointer (including a special purpose vehicle) to validly appoint a receiver before its ownership of the charge on the folio has been completed at the time of the appointment of the receiver.

From a lender's perspective, this case also highlights that in the appointment of a receiver the requirements for making such appointment, as contained in the relevant security documents, should be strictly followed.

It should be noted however that, in respect of a property comprising registered land, for any charge-holder seeking to avail of the rights conferred by the Section 62 of the Registration of Title Act, 1964 (e.g. to sell as mortgagee for the purposes of overreaching judgment mortgages) it is necessary that the entity holding the debt is registered as the charge holder on the relevant folio if that charge holder wishes to have the benefit of the powers to a chargee under the Registration of Title Act, 1964.


1 [2013] IEHC 423

2 [2015] IESC 27

3 [2012] IEHC 331

4 [2016] IEHC 447

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.