Personal Insolvency Act 2012

27.

Initiation of Debt Relief Notice process.

27.— (1) A debtor who wishes to become a specified debtor shall submit to an approved intermediary a written statement disclosing all of the debtor’s financial affairs, which statement shall include—

(a) such information as may be prescribed in relation to—

(i) his or her creditors,

(ii) his or her debts and other liabilities,

(iii) his or her assets, and

(iv) the efforts made by him or her to reach an alternative repayment arrangement with his or her creditors, and

(b) such other information as may be prescribed.

(2) Following receipt of the information referred to in subsection (1), the approved intermediary shall hold a meeting with the debtor and, at that meeting, provide, on the basis of the information, the debtor with the following information and advice—

(a) whether the debtor satisfies the criteria specified in section 26(2),

(b) the general effect of making an application under section 29, and the consequences, including any adverse consequences, for the debtor in the event of his or her becoming a specified debtor,

(c) the other option or options (if any) available to him or her for addressing his or her financial difficulties including, in particular, becoming party to a Debt Settlement Arrangement, Personal Insolvency Arrangement or bankruptcy, and the general effect of choosing one or more than one of those options,

(d) the fee (if any) that is prescribed for making an application under section 29.

F23[(2A) For the purposes of subsection (2), ‘meeting’ means a consultation between the approved intermediary and the debtor held in accordance with any regulations made under this section and at which—

(a) both are present in person at the same time and in the same place, or

(b) both are not present in person in the same place, but each is able, by means of electronic communications technology, to speak to, to see and to hear the other.

(2B) The Insolvency Service, with the consent of the Minister, may, and if directed by the Minister to do so and in accordance with the terms of the directions, shall, make regulations in relation to the holding and conduct of meetings referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (2A).

(2C) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2B), regulations under that subsection may provide for—

(a) the circumstances in which a meeting referred to in subsection (2A)(b) shall not be held,

(b) the form of electronic communications technology that shall not be used in a meeting referred to in subsection (2A)(b), and

(c) the conduct of meetings referred to in subsection (2A).

(2D) In making regulations under this section the Insolvency Service shall have regard to:

(a) the need to protect debtors and creditors who are or may become specified debtors or specified creditors;

(b) the importance of—

(i) ensuring effective access to, and participation in, meetings referred to in subsection (2A) by debtors, and

(ii) supporting the development of a relationship of trust and mutual confidence between debtors and approved intermediaries;

(c) the need, including having regard to the financial situation of debtors, to ensure efficiency and timeliness in the holding of meetings referred to in subsection (2A);

(d) the differing needs of debtors (including having regard to age, health, resources, geographical location, access to private or public transport, access to and familiarity with electronic communications technology, working hours and family and other obligations, including caring obligations) in respect of their participation in a meeting referred to in subsection (2A);

(e) the need to ensure that public confidence in the operation of the Debt Relief Notice process is maintained;

(f) any other factor that the Insolvency Service considers relevant in ensuring the effective conduct of meetings referred to in subsection (2A).

(2E) In this section, ‘electronic communications technology’, in relation to a meeting referred to in subsection (2A)(b), means technology that enables real time transmission and real time two-way audio-visual communication.]

(3) Where the debtor, following the meeting referred to in subsection (2), wishes to apply for a Debt Relief Notice, he or she shall confirm that fact in writing to the approved intermediary.

F24[(4) The debtor, as soon as practicable after he or she has made the confirmation referred to in subsection (3), shall

(a) provide information that fully discloses his or her financial affairs to the approved intermediary, and

(b) give his or her written consent to the

(i) making by the approved intermediary of an enquiry under subsection (9), and

(ii) disclosure by the approved intermediary of personal data of the debtor, to the extent necessary for such an enquiry.]

(5) The approved intermediary, on receipt of the information referred to in subsection (4), shall examine that information and, having regard to the obligation of the debtor under subsections (7) and (8), assist the debtor in completing a Prescribed Financial Statement.

(6) On completion of a Prescribed Financial Statement under subsection (5), the approved intermediary, if he or she is of the opinion that—

F25[(a) the information contained in the debtors Prescribed Financial Statement is true and accurate in all material respects, and]

(b) the debtor satisfies the eligibility criteria specified in section 26(2),

shall prepare a statement to that effect.

(7) A debtor who participates in the Debt Relief Notice process (including a debtor who becomes a specified debtor), is at all times under an obligation to act in good faith and to co-operate fully in the process.

(8) A person referred to in subsection (7), in his or her dealings with the approved intermediary concerned, shall—

(a) make full and honest disclosure to that approved intermediary of all of his or her assets, income and liabilities and of all other circumstances that are relevant to that process,

(b) comply with any reasonable request from the approved intermediary to provide assistance, documents and information, including any debt, tax, employment, business, social welfare or other financial records, necessary for the application of the process to the debtor’s case or the performance of the approved intermediary’s functions, and

(c) ensure that, to the best of his or her knowledge, the Prescribed Financial Statement completed under this section is true, accurate and complete.

F24[(9) The approved intermediary may, for the purposes of subsections (5) and (6), make such enquiries as he or she considers appropriate to verify the value of a debt or other liability disclosed by the debtor under this section.

(10) Where a creditor who receives an enquiry from the approved intermediary pursuant to this section does not furnish the information requested within 21 days of the making of the enquiry, the approved intermediary shall be entitled for the purposes of subsection (6) to presume that the value of the debt or liability concerned is that disclosed by the debtor.]

Annotations

Amendments:

F23

Inserted (25.06.2021) by Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Act 2021 (10/2021), s. 3, S.I. No. 305 of 2021.

F24

Substituted (31.07.2013) by Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (32/2013), s. 49, S.I. No. 286 of 2013.

F25

Substituted (24.12.2013) by Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (46/2013), s. 9(c), commenced on enactment as per s. 11(4).