Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (153)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

153. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to any concerns relating to the method of registering judgment mortgages by the Property Registration Authority of Ireland; if he will investigate a case where two judgment mortgages were registered against a folio (details supplied) in County Limerick, in 2003 and 2004, same orders were registered again against the same folio under a separate instrument number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21598/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The role of the Property Registration Authority in relation to the registration of judgment mortgages is purely administrative and provided that an application is made in the correct form, registration proceeds. The case referred to by the Deputy is currently the subject of an ongoing judicial review case. Two judgment mortgages were lodged with the Property Registration Authority by a firm of solicitors in 2003. Due to a perceived error on behalf of the lodging party, two fresh judgment mortgage affidavits were lodged for registration by the same firm of solicitors in March 2004.

On 6 May 2004, the title holder applied to the Land Registry to remove the judgment mortgages. As indicated, registration of judgment mortgages is purely an administrative process. In the absence of a release by the owner of the judgment, a decision was made by the Property Registration Authority to refuse the application and an order of refusal issued on 9 August 2007. The title holder subsequently applied for Judicial Review in the High Court against the refusal order issued by the Authority. I am advised by the Property Registration Authority that prior to the hearing, the original two judgment mortgages were cancelled from the folio on foot of legal advice and on notice to the solicitor for the judgment mortgagee, since the interest was still protected by the second two judgment mortgages. The High Court found in April 2009 that the Authority was obliged by law to register the judgments in question. It was also held that the Authority had ample power to cancel the duplicated judgment mortgages. The Court refused the reliefs sought in the judicial review proceedings. The matter is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court and on 3 May 2013 the appellant was granted further time to file a Book of Appeal.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment any further in relation to matters which are subject to ongoing legal proceedings.