Thursday 22 August 2019

Judge slams 'fake law' debt defences

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Tim Healy

A HIGH Court judge has said the courts should stop tolerating "anarchic" litigation involving "fake law" claims being pursued by pressure groups and "dubious" unqualified "advisers" to personal litigants.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said a couple who advanced an "overwhelming miasma of fake law" in a failed bid to prevent a bank getting judgment were typical of a category of litigants representing a "very serious" challenge to a courts system overburdened with a rising number of "genuine" cases.

This approach to litigation is "much more serious" than just a form of "legal quackery", it is a "deliberate and conscious" waste of court time, an attempt to obstruct the administration of justice and a "manifest abuse of process", he said.

The judge made the comments when finding that James and Valerie Martin, Ellistown, Kildare, Co Kildare, had advanced no arguable defence to Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank's proceedings against them for judgment for some €90,155.

Since the economic collapse, there had been a "sea change" in the prevalence of personal litigants, assisted by "agenda-driven pressure groups" and non-lawyers, known as "McKenzie friends", providing "advice" for reward, the judge said.

His experience was those groups and individuals cause "significant harm" to those they purport to assist by giving advice "not just wrong but entirely detrimental" to the litigant's interests.

Irish Independent

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