PRACTICE DIRECTION HC100
I, Mary Irvine, President of the High Court, hereby issue the following practice direction in accordance with s. 11(12) and (13) of the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020.
Practice Directions HC65 and HC66 are revoked and the following will apply with effect from 3rd December, 2020, save as to urgent applications to which the present Practice Direction will apply with immediate effect. Paragraphs 24 and 25 will also apply with immediate effect. This Practice Direction applies to proceedings whether commenced before or after its making.
1– Bankruptcy List
1. The Bankruptcy List (“the List”) encompasses all matters relating to bankruptcy or arrangement under the Bankruptcy Act 1988 as amended, Order 76 of the Rules of the Superior Courts as amended, or Regulation (EU) 2015/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on insolvency proceedings (recast), but not including proceedings under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012.
2. Short matters in the Monday list will be taken at intervals. Longer matters (over 5 minutes) will be taken at intervals commencing whenever the short matters are dealt with. The precise times will be listed in the Legal Diary on any given Monday. Where matters are not suitable for a Monday (half a day or longer), application must be made to the Judge in Charge of the List (“the List Judge”) for a specific date other than a Monday. All parties must deliver written submissions in any matters not suitable for Monday, and any party may apply for directions regarding written submissions in any other matter.
3. There will be a callover at the start of the list each Monday of any cases listed for hearing (other than on Mondays) in the week commencing on the following Monday to ensure that all matters are in order. Any developments likely to affect listings or their duration should be notified to the court as soon as possible.
2 - Submission of Papers
4. Physical submission of papers: Copies of all papers to be put before the court should be sent in hard copy to the court via the Assistant Examiner with responsibility for the List (the “Assistant Examiner Bankruptcy”), on or before 17.00 on the Wednesday preceding the Monday of the week in which the matter is listed.
5. Electronic submission of papers: The Court may direct parties to furnish copies of papers in electronic format. Where such a direction is made, copies should be sent, preferably in Word document format rather than PDF, to email@example.com.
6. All email communications to the court must give the full name of proceedings and bankruptcy record number and state the document being submitted, in the title of the email, with spaces between each word/ number - preferably in the form (bankruptcy record number) (space) (name of subject of application) (space) (document submitted e.g. applicant’s submissions).
7. When submitting papers in word document format, practitioners should use clear formatting as much as possible in Word. Bold or underlining should be used rather than word "headings", as much as possible. Word documents must be in a minimum of 12 point type.
8. Failure to submit papers in accordance with the foregoing requirements for electronic and physical submission may result in the court not seeing a document on which the party concerned may wish to rely.
3 - Papers Generally
9. Pleadings must state the names of any counsel who settled such documents.
10. Where a pleading is delivered in breach of any deadline set by a relevant Practice Direction or a direction of the court, it shall be for the defaulting party to show why such party’s costs of that pleading should be included in any costs order, unless the court expressly so orders when allowing costs.
11. Any pleading which has been amended shall, in accordance with Order 28 rule 9, Rules of the Superior Courts, be marked with the date of the order under which the same is amended, and the day on which such amendment is made, as follows:
“Amended the …… day of …… pursuant to order of Mr. / Ms. Justice …… dated the day …… of ….…” This formula should be inserted immediately below the title of the pleading, for example “Amended Petition” followed by “Amended the ... day of ... etc.”
12. Generally a date for any lengthy matter will not be fixed until all papers are delivered in both hard and soft copy in accordance with this Practice Direction. The court will, either of its own motion or on application of any one or more of the parties, give directions for deadlines by which such delivery is to take place. If these deadlines are not complied with, the court may list the matter on successive Mondays for review until such papers are delivered in full, and the default costs order for such adjourned listings will be as set out under the heading of adjournments below. If a date has been fixed prior to delivery of papers but such papers are not delivered in accordance with this Practice Direction, dates may be vacated and a new date will not be fixed until papers are so delivered.
4 – Petitions by Debtors
13. Every Petition submitted by a debtor seeking an order of adjudication in bankruptcy must be accompanied by an affidavit of the debtor exhibiting a letter from a Personal Insolvency Practitioner registered with the Insolvency Service of Ireland certifying that:
(I) the Personal Insolvency Practitioner (“Practitioner”) has met the debtor and obtained information in relation to his or her assets, liabilities and income;
(II) from the information provided by the debtor, the Practitioner has assessed the income and expenditure of the debtor based on his or her household composition in accordance with the Reasonable Living Expenses and taking into account the net monthly income, sets costs, housing, childcare (if applicable) and any special circumstances as described in the Reasonable Living Expenses has determined that the debtor has a monthly surplus or deficit of a particular amount;
(iii) having regard to the Practitioner’s meeting with the debtor, and his or her assessment of the debtor’s assets, liabilities and income, the Practitioner believes that the debtor’s inability to meet his/her engagements cannot be more appropriately dealt with by means of a Debt Settlement Arrangement or a Personal Insolvency Arrangement for a reason stated; and
(iv) the debtor has confirmed to the Practitioner that the information provided and inserted on the Statement of Affairs (in Form 23 Appendix O of the Rules of the Superior Courts) is an accurate and true reflection of the debtor’s financial position, and the Practitioner has satisfied himself/herself that the Statement of Affairs is in the prescribed form and is complete and consistent with the information provided to the Practitioner by the debtor and nothing in the meeting with the debtor would give the Practitioner any reason to doubt same (this confirmation should be given to the Practitioner by the debtor, even when the Practitioner has prepared the Statement of Affairs on behalf of the debtor, so that the Practitioner can certify as required to the court).
14. A debtor should not swear his/her Statement of Affairs nor sign his/her Statement of Personal Information, until he or she is fully satisfied that each document is accurate, complete and consistent.
15. The default terms of an adjudication order on a debtor’s petition are:
1. that the debtor be adjudicated bankrupt.
2. any further statement of affairs be dispensed with until otherwise ordered.
3. the bankrupt is required to advertise notice of adjudication within 21 days in Iris Oifigiúil and on the website of the Insolvency Service of Ireland (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org), and
4. the bankrupt is required to meet with the bankruptcy inspector from the office of the Official Assignee forthwith following adjudication, outside the courtroom.
16. On the day of adjudication, a person who has been adjudicated bankrupt on foot of his/her own petition, shall produce to the Bankruptcy Inspector or e-mail the Bankruptcy Division of the Insolvency Service of Ireland a copy of his/her Statement of Affairs produced by him/her to the Examiners Office at the time of the filing of his/her Petition under section 11(5) of the Bankruptcy Act 1988, together with a Statement of Personal Information. These documents should be provided to the Insolvency Service of Ireland on the day of adjudication and as soon as possible after the making of the adjudication order.
17. Debtors must ensure the timely filing of documents and replies to the Bankruptcy Division of the Insolvency Service of Ireland and to the Examiners Office of the High Court. The documents filed in these offices must be accurate and complete. Compliance with these directions will reduce the need for either of these offices to contact debtors during the application process or after the making of the adjudication order.
5 – Petitions by persons other than debtors
18. Where a debtor does not appear in answer to a petition and does not contact the petitioner seeking a consent adjournment to consult a personal insolvency practitioner, the petition may be granted on the first return date without further reference to the debtor.
6 – Adjournments
19. In view of the court’s autonomous obligation to promote efficiency in the interests of litigants overall, as well as to resolve litigation within a reasonable time, and having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003, the court will not generally adjourn applications merely by reason of consent of the parties, without there being a clear direction from the court as to what is to happen during the adjourned period. In the case of a listing for mention that is adjourned due to non-compliance by a party with any direction, the default order will be measured costs in the sum of EUR 300 plus VAT per party inconvenienced save where it would effect an injustice.
20. During the 4 months immediately following the first return date of an application in the list, the matter may be adjourned on consent by emailing the Assistant Examiner Bankruptcy prior to 17.00 on the Wednesday before the Monday list concerned. Compliance with this deadline is essential in order to enable the time slot concerned to be allocated to another matter prior to publication of the Legal Diary. If parties seek an adjournment later than that deadline, no costs shall be recoverable for the mention date so adjourned unless otherwise ordered by the court. Where a consent adjournment is sought, the parties must clearly specify the agreed directions as to what is to happen during the adjourned period and timelines for relevant steps (e.g.,. filing of affidavits within specified times), and the order granting the adjournment and giving such directions shall be made on consent without the necessity for attendance, subject to any other direction of the List Judge. Any adjournments where no directions are agreed, or that take the matter beyond the 4 month period referred to above must be made to the court.
7 – Consent orders and ex parte orders
21. Where parties seek a consent order other than for an adjournment, for example a consent bankruptcy payment order, the parties should not apply to the court in the first instance but should submit papers by hard copy to the Assistant Examiner Bankruptcy in accordance with Practice Direction HC89. Subject to any general directions from the List Judge as to which consent Orders can be drawn in the Office, the matter will then be referred to the List Judge who will decide on a case-by-case basis whether the order should be made by him/her on the papers or whether attendance in Court is required. Where the order is made, if the parties furnish email addresses, the parties shall be notified by email by the Assistant Examiner Bankruptcy on the same day the order is made, and a copy of the Order shall be furnished as soon as possible thereafter.
22. The President may from time to time direct that any particular category of ex parte application (not including a debtor’s petition) may be dealt with on the papers or remotely or formally in court at the outset of the list without the necessity for the attendance of the applicant or his/her legal representatives.
8 – Application of other relevant practice directions
23. Practitioners are reminded that other general Practice Directions are relevant to the list and should be complied with, in particular:
- HC91 on cases involving oral evidence
- HC94 on COVID-19 Track and Trace
- HC97 on written submissions and issue papers.
President of the High Court
6th November, 2020