No cart before horse: Ground-breaking insolvency law needs careful political scrutiny

29 Nov 2012

Legal rights group FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is seriously concerned that debate on important aspects of the Personal Insolvency legislation will either not happen at all or will be seriously curtailed.

According to FLAC Director General Noeline Blackwell, "The Bill is back for debate in the Seanad today for the second day. It has gone right through the Dail. But even at this late stage, the government has not provided details of some very central aspects of the Bill that will have a profound impact on over-indebted people seeking to use the proposed insolvency mechanisms."

The Bill is still missing substantial detail of such important provisions as:

  • what minimum income people will be allowed to retain in insolvency,
  • how personal insolvency practitioners will be regulated and licensed
  • what the Impact Assessment of the Bill is - which the government was obliged to prepare on the draft legislation.

Said Ms Blackwell, "All of these provisions must be scrutinised in sufficient detail by our legislators before this ground-breaking and important piece of legislation is concluded."

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Editors' notes:

  1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal justice for all. FLAC is an NGO that relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
  2. FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line and free legal advice through its network of 80 volunteer evening advice centres. It also campaigns on a range of issues including personal debt, fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid.
  3. FLAC's recent releases on personal debt law reform are available online including comments on the government's information initiative around mortgage debt and reaction to the ECB's Opinion on personal insolvency measures.
  4. FLAC's most recent submission on the Personal Insolvency Bill is available on our website.
  5. Some background information: