Friday 22 March 2019

Judges who favour banks should resign - Honohan

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy and Shane Phelan

Any judge who knowingly favours banks in litigation "should resign", the Master of the High Court has said.

Edmund Honohan made the comments as he dismissed a fund's uncontested application for liberty to enter final judgment against a woman for €944,550, including interest.

The woman did not appear in court and was not represented.

In a written decision, Mr Honohan also said it was hard to view bank records "without suspicion", given recent banking scandals.

Mr Honohan is not a judge, but holds a quasi-judicial role and can deal with applications for judgments in uncontested cases. He has been an outspoken critic of financial institutions for some time and has been at the centre of a number of recent controversies.

In January, it emerged he broke panes of glass in his courtroom due to "a fug".

Later that month, the President of the High Court issued a practice direction removing debt cases from the Master and assigning them directly to a High Court judge.

But the decision yesterday related to a case which predates the practice direction.

In an appendix to his decision, he set out a "checklist" of 35 points for judges to address when dealing with uncontested summary judgment applications. Having referred to several banking scandals, he said what was common to all of those was "the vehemence with which bank officials try to defend".

"This is banking culture. It starts with bonuses and ends in disinformation," he said.

"The age of innocence is over. Banks' affidavits have fallen from grace. They no longer enjoy any presumption of accuracy. Justice now requires scepticism."

Irish Independent

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