I am taking the Bill on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality who is away on EU business.
A total of 29 amendments, all of which were Government amendments, were proposed and approved on Committee and Report Stages in the Dáil. All of them are technical or refinements of the provisions of the Bankruptcy Act 1988 or the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 to facilitate the Insolvency Service of Ireland and the courts in dealing with insolvency cases as quickly as possible.
Amendment No. 1 is a drafting amendment to delete the reference to the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 which is no longer required. Its acceptance will mean the deletion of section 26.
Amendment No. 2 is a technical amendment which improves the text of section 8 of the Bankruptcy Act 1988 in regard to the prescription of certain notices that may be issued by a creditor and is necessary in the preparation of draft rules of the superior courts to facilitate the amendments to the Bankruptcy Act effected by the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. The second change aligns the required notice period in the old section 8 of the 1988 Act, which was only a four day notice to the debtor, with a new 14 day notice period in the revised subsection (1)(c) inserted by the 2012 Act as a precondition of a creditor being granted a bankruptcy summons.
Amendment No. 3 corrects an error in the text of new section 60A(2) in regard to the transfer of staff from the Courts Service to the Insolvency Service of Ireland. The reference in subsection (2) should be to the whole of the section, not just to subsection (2) alone.
Amendment No. 4 is a technical amendment to improve the text of subsection (5)(c) of section 60A by including a specific reference to the superannuation benefits of the staff concerned who may transfer from the Courts Service to the Insolvency Service of Ireland.
Amendment No. 5 inserts a new subsection (2A) in section 85B of the Bankruptcy Act of 1988 which was inserted by section 157 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. It concerns the entitlement to discharge from bankruptcy. The new subsection provides that an order of discharge from bankruptcy shall provide that any property of the bankrupt then vested in the official assignee shall be returned to the bankrupt. This provision was inadvertently omitted from the 2012 Act. Of course, it would only arise when all of the necessary conditions of the bankruptcy, including satisfaction to the fullest extent possible of the claims of the creditors, had been fulfilled. Any remaining surplus property would then be returned to the former bankrupt.
Group 2 concerns amendments to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 in regard to court jurisdiction. Amendment No. 6 is a technical drafting amendment, recommended by the Office of the Attorney General, to better refer to the particular Circuit Court to which an application is made for one of the debt resolution processes under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012.
Amendment No. 27 is also a technical drafting amendment, recommended by the Office of the Attorney General, to make it clear that an appeal against a decision of the Circuit Court under the Personal Insolvency Act shall lie to the High Court sitting in Dublin, with the exception of the situation under section 169(4), which relates to appeals to the Circuit Court against certain decisions of the Insolvency Service of Ireland regarding the regulation of personal insolvency practitioners.
Group 3 concerns amendments to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 in regard to approved intermediaries who process applications for debt relief notices. Amendment No. 7 amends section 9(1)(g) of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 to ensure the Insolvency Service of Ireland has sufficient powers in regard to the ongoing supervision of approved intermediaries. The original provision had effectively concentrated on the initial authorisation process only.
Amendment No. 13 inserts a new subsection (5) into section 47 of Personal Insolvency Act 2012 to extend the powers of the Insolvency Service of Ireland beyond making regulations for the criteria for authorisation of persons as approved intermediaries to the ongoing supervision and regulation of these approved intermediaries.
Amendment No. 13 inserts a new subsection (5) into section 47 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 to extend the powers of the insolvency service beyond making regulations for the criteria for authorisation of persons as approved intermediaries to the ongoing supervision and regulation of those approved intermediaries. The proposed new subsection 5A is designed to ensure that the insolvency service can monitor compliance with any regulations made pursuant to this section.
The second amendment to section 47 is a drafting amendment to improve the text by relocating the current provisions of subsections (9) to (12), inclusive, of section 27, concerning situations where the approved intermediary can no longer perform that function, to section 47, in subsections (8) to (11), inclusive, where they would seem to be more appropriately located.