Written answers

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Department of Justice and Equality

Personal Insolvency Practitioners

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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530. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the start date of the new personal insolvency regime; the reasons for the delay in its establishment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36243/13]

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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531. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of personal insolvency practitioners that have been appointed to date and the number due to be appointed by the end of 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36244/13]

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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532. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the associated costs with applying for a position as a personal insolvency practitioner; the qualification levels expected of a personal insolvency practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36245/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 530 to 532, inclusive, together.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) hopes to be in a position to accept applications from debtors in August. It is important to note that all of the necessary elements must be in place before the ISI can begin to receive applications. These elements include: the authorisation of Practitioners; finalisation of the necessary IT framework and Case Management systems to interface between practitioners, the ISI and the Courts Service; and necessary amendments to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, as contained in the Courts Bill which is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

I can advise the Deputy that no Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs) have yet been authorised. However, the ISI is currently in the process of verifying and approving applications it has received to date. Applications for authorisations as a PIP are made through the ISI's online portal system. To date over 90 people have initiated the application process by logging onto the Portal since the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (Authorisation and Supervision of Personal Insolvency Practitioners) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 209 of 2013) were published in late June. There is no set target on the number of practitioners to be authorised. The ISI expects to begin issuing authorisations for persons to act as Personal Insolvency Practitioners by the end of this month. The names of practitioners will be published as soon as they are authorised on the relevant Register on the ISI's website, www.isi.gov.ie.

As the Deputy may be aware, Section 4 of the Regulations referred to above detailed the qualification criteria for application as a Personal Insolvency Practitioner. An individual may make an application to carry on practice as a PIP if that individual:

- is a Solicitor in respect of whom a practising certificate (within the meaning of the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2011) is in force; or

- is a Barrister at law called to the Bar of Ireland; or

- is a qualified Accountant and a member of a prescribed accountancy body (within the meaning of Section 4 of the Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003; or

- is a Qualified Financial Advisor who holds a current qualification from the Life Assurance Association of Ireland (LIA), the Insurance Institute or the Institute of Bankers School of Professional Finance; or

- holds a qualification in law, business, finance or other appropriate similar qualification to the satisfaction of the Insolvency Service recognised to at least level 7 of the National Qualifications Framework by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (or equivalent).

The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (Personal Insolvency Practitioner Authorisation and Renewal of Authorisation Prescribed Fees) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 246 of 2013) were also published in recent weeks. These Regulations relate to the fees associated with making an application to become a Personal Insolvency Practitioner. The application fee is €1,500, with an annual renewal fee of €1,000.

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