Wednesday, March 15, 2023

High Court reporters

A businessman and his wife have secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing a mortgage company and a receiver from selling a property the couple want to use for the benefit of their daughter who has special needs.

The interim order was granted in favour of James Murphy and his wife Caroline Hannon who have brought High Court proceedings against receiver Hilary Larkin and Start Mortgages DAC, who, the court heard, intend to sell the property at the centre of the dispute.

The court also heard that a buyer has been found for the house.

However, the couple claims that the receiver lacks the power to possess or sell the property they co-own located at Coill Abhainn, Swinford, Co Mayo.

At the High Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore said he was satisfied, on an ex-parte basis, to grant the plaintiffs an interim injunction restraining the defendants from selling, transferring, or disposing of the property.

Represented by Darach MacNamara BL, instructed by solicitor Donnacha Anhold, the couple claim they acquired the property in 2002 and used it as their family home until 2008.

The property has been rented out for periods, but they claim it has always been their intention to keep the property for one of their children who has Down Syndrome, autism and dyspraxia.

Future plans

The property, the couple claim, would in the future be used as a home for their daughter, who is familiar with the house, when her parents would no longer be in a position to care for her.

In a sworn statement to the court Mr Murphy, of Lisheenbrawn, Swinford, Co Mayo said that the house was acquired with a mortgage from Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) in 2002, which was to be repaid over 20 years with interest. He said that sometime in 2018/2019 the loan was acquired by Start Mortgages DAC.

In October 2021, Ms Larkin was purportedly appointed as receiver over the property. He claims that there are legal issues over that appointment.

Mr Murphy said the two persons who have signed the document appointing Ms Larkin as receiver do not appear to be employees of either ILP or Start.

He claims that it has not been possible to identify the signatories from the documentation, and therefore it has not been possible to identify the root of the supposed power to appoint Ms Larkin as the receiver over the property.

He claims the defendants have refused without explanation to provide the plaintiffs with details regarding the identity of the two persons who purported to appoint the receiver or the nature of their authority.

He also claims the receiver has not shown she has a valid power to possess or sell the property.

He claims the locks on the property were changed several weeks ago, and the property is to be sold for €165,000.

The defendants, it is claimed, have acted outside of their powers and have failed to provide the couple with details regarding the identity and powers of the authorised officers referred to in the purposed receiver’s deed of appointment.

The judge after granting the injunction, adjourned the case to a date early next week.

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