Tuesday 24 October 2017

Master of High Court got bird's eye view as crisis unfolded

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

BARRISTER Ed Honohan (59), the outspoken Master of the High Court who has strongly criticised the treatment of some borrowers by banks, is a brother of Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan.

He is not a judge, but a civil servant who carries out a range of limited judicial functions in relation to civil cases that come before the courts.

The role of the Master is concerned primarily with procedural matters, including ensuring that cases are ready for trial before they are sent to the High Court judges' list.

The Master's court is the central hub for debt cases and Mr Honohan has had a bird's eye view on the burgeoning crisis.

He has witnessed the surge in home-repossession and judgment cases as many creditors -- including banks -- can obtain judgments in the Master's court if debtors fail to respond to demands for repayment.

Mr Honohan has also witnessed a surge in demands by banks for the satisfaction of non-mortgage or consumer loans by registering charges against debtors' family homes.

Two years ago, Mr Honohan warned that the "whole system is going to break down" as distressed debtors and creditors, including banks, sought adjournments in proceedings.

He has also repeatedly criticised the high costs charged by barristers and solicitors.

Irish Independent

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