Seizure of 11,000 homes hit by ruling
The repossession of homes is set to grind to a halt after a Court of Appeal judgment. Appeal judges have ruled that the Circuit Court had no jurisdiction to make possession orders for six domestic properties.
The court described this as having "unfortunate and unintended" consequences for other cases.
Most residential repossession cases go through the Circuit Courts.
Some 11,000 repossession cases are before the courts, with these now expected to be hugely delayed.
Proceedings will have to be re-issued in the High Court.
Close to 1,000 orders for possession were granted to lenders last year.
The ruling will cause massive delays and expense for banks and add to the costs for families facing losing their homes.
People who have a home repossessed end up having to foot the bank's legal bills.
Financial expert Karl Deeter, who was involved in a huge survey of repossession cases, said there were 11,000 such cases in the courts system.
He said it was the fourth time that judges had made rulings that have effectively stopped repossessions, with the best known being the Dunne judgment in 2011.
The Court of Appeal judgment will have "even more serious consequences" beyond possession cases.
This is because the general jurisdiction of the Circuit Court to deal with general property disputes was "at least, now open to question", the court said.