Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Justice and Equality

Personal Insolvency Service

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality when he expects to have the new Personal Insolvency Service up and running and dealing with individual cases; the number of individual cases the service will have the capacity to handle in 2013; his estimate of the number of individual cases that will seek access to the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57624/12]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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The Personal Insolvency Service are working towards a launch date in Quarter 1 of 2013 that will include the opening of an office and website, the launch of an information campaign and the issuing of publications and relevant guidelines.

Intensive efforts are also under way to design and implement the regulatory and IT frameworks required to be in place prior to the Service accepting applications for the new debt solutions (Debt Relief Notices, Debt Settlement Arrangements and Personal Insolvency Arrangements). These should be in place during Quarter 2 of 2013.

I expect a significant number of persons to seek to avail of the new or reformed insolvency processes. However, it is difficult to be precise as it will very much depend on individual circumstances and the nature and extent of the debts involved. However, for broad planning purposes for the first full year of operation of the new law and systems, our tentative estimate - based on a rough extrapolation from the comparable UK and Northern Ireland circumstances – is: 15,000 applications for the two main non-judicial debt resolution processes – the Debt Settlement Arrangement and Personal Insolvency Arrangement; 3,000 to 4,000 applications for Debt Relief Notices; and 3,000 bankruptcy applications. There were about 30 bankruptcy adjudications in 2011. This number gives an insight into the contrasting increase in work that will arise on the implementation of this Bill.

The Deputy will appreciate that these estimates for debtors seeking to avail of the new arrangements are tentative. Not all insolvencies will require to be dealt with under the new statutory debt resolution processes or bankruptcy. I would expect that the certainty brought to the future legal landscape by this Bill will encourage debtors and creditors to agree bilaterally on alternative solutions. These solutions could involve settlement of mortgage debt under the mortgage arrears resolution process operated by mortgage lenders under the supervision of the Central Bank or otherwise.


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