Insolvency

Insolvency and Debt Settlement/Restructure

Browne Legal specialises in the area of Personal Insolvency and Debt Settlement/Restructure. Fergal Browne of Browne Legal heads up the Insolvency Department. Fergal Browne has specialised in this area of law since the firm was established in 2003. Outside of insolvency firms in the greater Dublin area, Browne Legal is one of a few practices that is recognised for its specialist understanding of this area of Law. The Personal Insolvency Act of 2012 was seen as a game changer when it was introduced into Irish Law. Up until the introduction of this piece of legislation, the only choice available to a person in financial difficulty was to deal with the creditors themselves or to apply for Bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy laws at the time were draconian in nature.

The introduction of the Personal Insolvency Act provided a level playing field to people who were in financial distress. Fergal Browne was one of a number of insolvency specialists who was requested by Willie Penrose T.D. to make a submission to the government in 2015 as to how the Personal Insolvency Act of 2012 could be amended to provide better protections to individuals. Fergal Browne had long since campaigned for the Act to reduce the Bankruptcy period from 3 years to 1 year. He also campaigned to allow a Court appeals procedure when a proposed Personal Insolvency Arrangement was refused by creditors. As a result of submissions made to the government by a number of interested parties, the Personal Insolvency Act was amended in 2015 to reduce the period of Bankruptcy from 3 years to 1 year and allowed for a Court Appeals procedure where creditors voted against the Personal Insolvency Arrangement.

Fergal Browne is still of the opinion that the Personal Insolvency Act requires further amendments to ensure greater protections to people in financial distress and he continues to advocate for changes. When a person is declared Bankrupt, the Bankruptcy remains with the person for the rest of their lives, irrespective of the fact that the person is discharged from Bankruptcy after one year. There is absolutely no reason why this should attach to a persons financial position for the remainder of their lifetime and only serves to make it more difficult for that person to advance in their careers/businesses.

Fergal Browne is also a proponent for further changes in the Personal Insolvency Act to reduce personal insolvency arrangements from 6 years to 3 years. Fergal Browne is of the opinion that while people in financial distress are benefitting from personal insolvency arrangements, too many people are still unable to successfully implement a personal insolvency arrangement. This may be because they are not in arrears on the mortgage on their family home or creditors are being particularly difficult in agreeing a settlement. Fergal Browne is of the opinion that the Personal Insolvency Act should be amended to allow the Court appeals procedure where people are not in arrears of the family home. The appeals procedure under current legislation is only open to people who are in arrears on their family home prior to January 2015.

The last eight years have seen an influx of what are described as Vulture Capital Companies into Ireland. These Vulture Capital Companies have caused untold hardship and distress to thousands of property owners in this country. It is a shocking indictment of a government that allowed this to happen. Fergal Browne acts for hundreds of clients who are in financial distress, in arrears on their family home and in arrears on investment properties.

Up until a recent change in legislation, these Vulture Capital Companies went entirely unregulated. The government passed legislation to allow the mainstream banks in this country to sell their loans at a reduced amount to these Vulture Capital Companies. Fergal Browne has long since campaigned that the mainstream banks should have offered to restructure their customers loans at the equivalent amount to which it was selling the loans to Vulture Capital Companies, in order to keep people in their properties. While the family home has a certain amount of protection when it comes to Vulture Capital Companies, this has not stopped them from issuing repossession proceedings and causing distress to borrowers as a result of having to defend Court proceedings. Fergal Browne has attended before the Circuit Court and High Court in relation to applications by Vulture Capital Companies and mainstream banks for possession of family homes. The reality is that the family home has some protections under Law however unless it is included in a personal insolvency application, the threat of repossession is still enforced by the Vulture Capital Companies. Fergal Browne has successfully negotiated settlement terms for many of his clients with Vulture Capital Companies. The surprising thing at present is that the Vulture Capital Companies are easier to deal with in settlement matters than the mainstream banks. This is primarily because the Vulture Capital Companies have staff with specialist knowledge when it comes to doing deals. The mainstream banks unfortunately have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to employing people with specialist knowledge in debt settlement.

Feel free to contact Fergal Browne of Browne Legal to discuss all your INSOLVENCY and DEBT SETTLEMENT needs. Let Browne Legal set you on the right path to solvency.

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