Judge slams shadowy advisers giving advice to persons doomed to fail

A High Court judge has strongly criticised “shadowy advisers” who he said are giving flawed legal advice to those challenging repossession orders.

The comments were made by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan when giving judgment on an application by Mark Flynn and Mairead Flynn from Derry Shercock, Co Cavan who had appealed against an order of Cavan Circuit Court granting KBC Bank possession of their home.

They wanted the repossession order set aside on grounds including that the Circuit Court lacked the jurisdiction to make the order because the property does not have a rateable valuation, and that evidence was withheld from the Circuit Court.

In dismissing all grounds of the action the Judge said it was a matter of “considerable concern” people are being “duped by anonymous parties into paying money to them on the basis of so called legal advice about their rights and entitlements.”

This advice was being given by “shadowy advisers who profess to have legal knowledge but in fact possess none.” These advisers are “unregulated and uninsured,” he added.

The judge said recently many persons are coming before the High Court, without a solicitor or barrister representing them, seeking to challenge repossession orders made against their property.

Legal papers presented on their behalf have been “ineptly drafted” and the applications were “doomed to fail.”

These unfortunate parties were being “left exposed to much higher level of legal costs they should be”, he said.

KBC Bank Ireland Ltd sought an order for repossession against the Flynns who entered into a mortgage agreement with KBC in 2006.

KBC said mortgage repayments were defaulted since November 2011, and it made a demand for a sum of €250,000. Last March KBC secured a possession order against the couple.

The judge also noted that Mr Flynn had claimed he is entitled under the 2009 Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act to have his mortgage assigned to a entity called “The People’s Mortgage Protection Vehicle (PMPV)”.

Mr Flynn said PMPV has apparently given him and others advice to the effect that his mortgage should be transferred to this entity enabling him to defeat the bank’s claim.

Mr Flynn had also claimed he had been making payment to the (PMPV). “If this is so, and certainly if it applies to others like Mr Flynn this is a very worrying development” the Judge said.

The suggestion that others like the Flynns and can somehow defeat the banks claim by assigning their interest in the property to a third party is “utterly misguided and spurious”.

The Judge said the Flynns were not entitled to redeem the sums due on the mortgage that remain outstanding. There is no question of the defendants having a right to require KBC to transfer the mortgage to any their party.

The judge said the people like the Flynns who find themselves in financial distress are making “a bad situation worse” by consulting “hob lawyers” who hold out “false hope” for them.

People in such situations would be better off seeking to deal with the creditors directly or through properly qualified advisers. The Judge also said people should speak to organisations that can provide proper assistance such as MABS, Insolvency Service of Ireland, FLAC and other non for profit groups.

It was regrettable that the Flynns ignored invitations from KBC to enter into dialogue and had instead pursued the “futile and highly damaging alternative of contesting their case on the basis of so called advice from person not qualified to give it.”

Aodhan O’Faolain, Ireland International News Agency Ltd.

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