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Free legal aid for borrowers announced

A new free legal aid scheme was announced by the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald this week.The free legal aid scheme aims to assist borrowers who face going to court for repossession of their homes. The move has been welcomed by the Money Advisory and Budgeting Service and by the Free Legal Advice Centres. This is the long overdue missing link. Combined with a shorter bankruptcy term and improved debt resolution options, these measures will lead to resolution of cases in a speedier and fairer manner.

Access to legal advice and representation is a fundamental right, a right which was in most cases not being met in the repossession cases before the courts until now.

The scheme will be administered through the Money Advice and Budgeting Service with the involvement of the Legal Aid Board.

The new free legal aid scheme announced this week will level the playing field to a certain degree for distressed borrowers and will lead to a greater number of realistic settlements by the Banks at an earlier stage.

Until now it has been very difficult for those facing the loss of their home to access legal representation. in most cases, people were left to represent themselves or relied on one of the various charities set up to help people..

The scheme will include assistance and representation for borrowers facing repossession proceedings for a panel of duty solicitors to be drawn up by the Legal Aid Board. a voucher system is proposed to be used at no cost to the borrower, where MABS provide the voucher.

The new free legal aid scheme announced by the Minister is another step along the road to recovery and a fairer society.

While it is long overdue, the move must be welcomed and underlines how seriously the government view the issue of mortgage arrears and repossessions as an election issue.

As a qualified personal insolvency practitioner and solicitor, Etain Boyce is ideally placed to advise those facing legal threats from their bank over arrears in payments.Please feel free to contact Etain to discuss your situation in strictest confidence on 0749890190.


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