Ireland: High Court Rules Debtors Have A Voice In Applications To Review Creditors' Rejection Of A PIA

Last Updated: 20 February 2018
Article by Ashling Walsh and Hilda Mannix

Following on from her decision of late last year in Re Darren Reilly & the Personal Insolvency Acts 2012 to 2015 [2017] IEHC 558 (further details of which can be found here), Ms. Justice Marie Baker has found in her recent judgment In the Matter of Niamh Meeley & Ors that debtors also have a voice in applications brought on their behalf by a Personal Insolvency Practitioner ("PIP") under section 115A of the Personal Insolvency Act, 2012, as amended ("the Act").

Preliminary issue

The judgment related to the determination of a preliminary issue as to whether five separate applications (involving five debtors) under section 115A1 of the Act were properly constituted. Specifically, the question for determination was whether, in circumstances where a debtor has "no free standing right" to bring an application under section 115A, there exists a residual right of a debtor to directly engage in such an application, considering the "central and substantive statutory role" of a PIP in the process. Some 400 applications under section 115A had been suspended pending clarification of this issue. During the hearing, the Insolvency Service of Ireland ("the ISI") made submissions as amicus curiae2 and raised a particular concern that in some section 115A applications, solicitors acting for an objecting creditor have indicated in correspondence to PIPs that if an application under section 115A is unsuccessful, an order for costs may or will be sought against the PIPs personally.  

Balancing interest of debtors and creditors

In rejecting the creditors' arguments that the voice of the debtor is "intended to be silenced" and that the voice of the PIP is the only voice to be heard in the "articulation of the arguments or interests of the debtor in the review", Ms. Justice Baker held that the PIP is not the agent of either the debtor or the creditor but is required to engage professionally with both to achieve a satisfactory solution to both, if at all possible. In that regard, she held that the Court in a section 115A review is required to balance the interests of the creditor and the debtor and is therefore not confined "to the evidence that the PIP so considers".  Further, Ms. Justice Baker held that a debtor has a "vital interest" in the outcome of a section 115A application. Importantly, the debtor may only be heard where the application is properly constituted before the Court and the issue of how the debtor is to be heard is a matter for the Court conducting the review. Ms. Justice Baker also rejected an argument made by Counsel for Bank of Ireland that allowing a debtor's voice to be heard would result in "litigation chaos". In particular, she noted that the threshold proofs (as set out in section 115A(2)3) must be met before an application is heard, that the PIP has a role in "filtering unmeritorious applications" and that the Court also has express power to make directions regarding the hearing of the application.


In considering the question of costs in section 115A applications, Ms. Justice Baker re-iterated the principle enunciated in Re Darren Reilly that costs would only be granted against a PIP in unsuccessful section 115A applications in "exceptional circumstances" or where the PIP had acted "in bad faith". This is particularly the case having regard to the express public interest that is performed by a PIP in the insolvency process. The Court also expressly stated that it does not condone the practice of correspondence from creditors threatening an application for costs against PIPs in "routine or ordinary" unsuccessful applications.

While the Court found some procedural incorrectness in how the applications the subject of the judgment had been constituted, it held that the striking out of these proceedings was not justified and adjourned the cases to permit the parties to consider how they should proceed.


The decision certainly brings further comfort for PIPs who may be considering applying for a review under section 115A, but are fearful of an adverse costs order in the event that the application is not successful. However, given that there is no statutory means by which the Court may award the PIP costs out of the estate of the insolvent debtor (and there is no provision under section 115A for the Court to modify the personal insolvency arrangement for the purpose of providing for the costs of a PIP in bringing the application), there remains the question as to how PIPs are going to recover their costs incurred in a section 115A review.

Separately, it is noteworthy that Ms. Justice Baker suggested that none of the applications the subject of these proceedings were properly constituted in terms of their form. Accordingly, in circumstances where there were divergences in the manner in which the proceedings were drafted (none of which were decided to be correct), there is scope for guidance to be given by the ISI or indeed, the Court, as to the correct form to be used in s115A applications.


1 Further details of section 115A can be found here insights/significant-ruling-on-challenging-a-creditor-s-rejection-of-a-personal-insolvency-arrangement.

2 "Friend of the Court"

3 These include, inter alia, a statement of the grounds of the application, a copy of the proposal for a PIA, a copy of the report of the PIP referred to in section 107(1)(d) and a certificate with the result of the vote at the creditors' meeting, identifying the proportions of the respective categories of votes cast by those voting at the creditors' meeting and the creditors who voted in favour of and against the proposal, and the nature and value of the debt owed to each such creditor

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
Related Topics
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions