Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter announced the publication of the Land and Conveyancing Reform Bill 2013 on the 28 March 2013. If enacted, the Bill will have wide ranging implications for individuals potentially facing repossession of their homes. It would result in the repossessions process slowing down and remove the uncertainty that remains in relation to enforcement remedies. The Bill sets out varying criteria that a Court must consider before allowing a borrower to apply for a Repossession Order. The level of participation by the borrower will be taken into account which is promising for those individuals that have made attempts to deal with their arrears.
The Bill confirms that certain statutory provisions that were repealed by the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 may be invoked by borrowers who created mortgages before 1 December 2009. Confusion in this area occurred due to the Start Mortgages case and proceeding High Court decisions which stated that the 2009 Act repealed certain provisions for mortgages created before the 1st December 2009.
In Section 2 the Bill proposes that in any repossession proceedings in respect of a borrower’s family home, the Court may adjourn the proceedings and allow the borrower to engage in a Personal Insolvency Arrangement as an alternative, as under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. The Bill has stated that any developments will not affect current Court proceedings however and that it will not apply retrospectively.