The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 was signed into law by the President on 24 July 2013.  While certain sections of the Act commenced immediately on its signing into law, other provisions have yet to be commenced by ministerial order.

A summary of the key changes brought about by the Act are set out below.

Increase in the Monetary Jurisdiction of District and Circuit Courts

The Act increases the monetary jurisdiction of:

  • The District Court from €6,384 to €15,000
  • The Circuit Court from €38,092 to €75,000, except in personal injuries cases where a new monetary jurisdiction of €60,000 is introduced.

These changes have yet to be commenced by ministerial order.

Amendments to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012

The Act makes a number of technical amendments to the Personal Insolvency 2012 Act, in addition to providing for the following:

  • The identification of the documents to be provided to the court in an application for one of the three debt resolution processes introduced by the Act, namely Debt Relief Notices (DRNs), Debt Settlement Arrangements (DSAs) and Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs).
  • The removal of the power of the court, where it requires additional evidence or information in respect of an application for a protective certificate or a DRN, DSA or PIA, to hold a hearing “otherwise than in public”.  Such hearings must be held in public.
  • An obligation on the Insolvency Service of Ireland to remove all information recorded on a public register in relation to a protective certificate or a DRN, DSA or PIA within 3 months of the date on which it terminates or is successfully completed.
  • The introduction of more extensive provisions regarding the variation of DSAs or PIAs.
  • An extension of the power of the Insolvency Service of Ireland to make regulations to include regulations providing for the authorisation, regulation and supervision of approved intermediaries and personal insolvency practitioners.
  • The inclusion of specific reference to maintaining public confidence in DSAs and PIAs as a broad policy criterion.

These amendments were commenced by ministerial order with effect from 31 July 2013.

Amendments to the Bankruptcy Act 1988

The amendments made to the Bankruptcy Act 1988 include the following:

  • The removal of the requirement on creditors to provide debtors with “notice in the prescribed form”.  Creditors requiring payment need only provide “notice to the debtor”. 
  • An increase from 4 days to 14 days in the period of time which the debtor has to repay his debt after receiving notice from a creditor requiring payment.
  • The transfer of the office of the Official Assignee to the Insolvency Service of Ireland (established under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012) by way of secondment for 2 years.  A number of consequential amendments have also been made in respect of this transfer. 
  • Provision for the Director of the Insolvency Service to designate a deputy for the Official Assignee. provision for the Official Assignee to place monies and securities forming part of a bankrupt’s estate into a bank account of a bank authorised to carry on business in the State.  Previously the Official Assignee could only lodge such monies to a bank account in the Central Bank.  The Act also gives the Minister for Justice power to make regulations governing the manner in which the Official Assignee maintains such accounts.
  • Provision for any property of the bankrupt vested in the Official Assignee to be returned to the bankrupt on an order of discharge being made. This is subject to all the necessary conditions of the bankruptcy, including satisfaction to the extent possible of the claims of creditors, being fulfilled.

These changes have yet to be commenced by ministerial order.