Wednesday 21 March 2018

Quinns claim legal actions 'stopped dead' by emergency laws on IBRC

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

A HUGE body of litigation has been put on hold as a result of an emergency law to appoint special liquidators to the IBRC (formerly Anglo), the High Court has heard.

"Everything stopped dead" on the night the IBRC act was passed,lawyers for the Quinn family have told the High Court as part of their bid to have a stay lifted against them continuing their case against the IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

The Special Liquidator appointed to the IBRC is backing a bid by members of the Quinn family to lift a stay on their action.

In a case that could have implications for many other legal actions against the IBRC and Irish Nationwide, the Quinns have told the High

Court that citizens must be treated equally.

The IBRC Act, providing for the liquidation of IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, was enacted last month following a late

night sitting of the Dail and Seanad.

Section 6.2.a of the Act provides for an immediate stay on all "existing" proceedings against IBRC, but does not mention consent of the


This compares to Section 6 2 b which says no further actions can be taken against the IBRC without the consent of the courts.

"Did somebody forget?" asked High Court Judge Mr Justice Sean Ryan during submissions by lawyers for the Quinns.

Under ordinary liquidations, existing proceedings "travel" with the liquidation, but the IBRC imposes an "immediate" stay on existing


This morning Senior Counsel Martin Hayden, for the Quinn family, said that the issue is "somewhat unique" but added that both sides agreed that the High Court has jurisdiction to lift the stay.

Mr Hayden said that if the intention of the Oireachtas on the night and early morning the IBRC Act was passed was to "immediately oust" the

jurisdiction of the High Court, that was unconstitutional.

Mr Hayden told High Court Judge Mr Justice Sean Ryan that the sections of the act relating to the stay on existing proceedings was "an

unfortunate piece of drafting to say the least".

He argued that under the IBRC Act the stay remains until a party applies to have it lifted.

The Quinns initiated their action against the bank in 2011 after the Quinn Group was placed into receivership by Anglo.

The application to lift the stay continues.

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