By Ray Hall
Yesterday I sat in court 33 in the Four Courts with 2 friends watching banks and the State demolish families through an unjust legal administration process which see’s them eventually turfed out of their dwellings (the place where they live) and onto the street. This is something I do week in week out, but this day was different.
I had attended court 33 this sunny friday morning, to support my friend Mary (not her real name) a 60 year old woman who through no fault of her own had found herself before the courts and is now fighting for her very existence.
These courts are a very cold place indeed if one is facing this crisis alone, But we had come to support Mary in her hour of need.
Sauve barristers grovel, whinge, complain and act (some wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood movie) to court Registrars like their owed something, others are pimple face youngsters barely qualified out of college getting to cut their teeth, and the first blood they draw will be the life blood from some poor unfortunate family. All of them actors working in the Crown court system dispossessing Irish families of their shelter, which as everyone knows is a necessity to live in Ireland.
Anyway, There were 47 seven family homes coming under the hammer, I sat there and watched the proceedings, I watched the barristers communicate with the Registrar through secret hand signals (a ploy used in all courts to make sure the barristers get what they want) to manipulate the defendants into unwinnable positions.
The people before this court are not immature youngsters, they are middle aged couples with young families, I watched the fear in their eyes as their names are read from the list.
For many its their first time ever in a courtroom, They have no idea whats going on as the Registrar chats with them explaining the seriousness of the case, as they contract unknowingly and give jurisdiction to the court.
Then it was Mary’s turn, Its her 5th time in so a bit more serious for her, The barrister stood up and started whinging as he had done all morning, that he hadn’t received the affidavit he was supposed to get. Mary handed him his copy and pleaded ignorant to that rule. On his reading of the first paragraph one could immediately see the contents of the document disturbed him. So back to the begging and whinging he went and eventually asked for a few minutes so he could get his head around the headache document Mary had just given him.
While I can’t say whats in the document, Mary has been using a process called the Official Offer. I could clearly see the barrister didn’t like it because it had allowed Mary to rebut his previous affidavit and offer a defense.
Upset by the contents of the document the barrister began whinging and begging the court again, saying he had been hurt by Mary not knowing the rules and this had forced him to waste a day in court, (he must have forgotten we had watched him re-presenting other cases earlier) and he chanced his arm and asked for costs. With a small prompt Mary objected and this really pissed him off when Mary once again objected to the Registrar asking her to pay his costs, So they weren’t given. Why? because there was no consent from Mary to allow this. Remember the barrister is already getting paid, why should he get paid twice. So Mary was right to object.
Now even more upset the barrister continued to whinge like a little girl (it was embarrassing to be honest) he now took it upon himself to reply personally to Mary’s affidavit. How strange he hadn’t even consulted with his client the Bank and he sought a two week period to reply. This was granted by way of an adjournment till october 19th and we left the court room.
So what happens now you may ask? Well the Banks Solicitors have to serve Mary with this replying affidavit in two weeks, then Mary has till the 15th of october to rebut this replying affidavit if she chooses.
Whatever happens from now on for Mary, will decide if we have a justice system or not.
I say we have a Justice system and that the Judges will do their jobs without fear or favor, affection or ill will towards any man or woman and uphold the constitution and the laws.
Heres a question, What happened in Irish society that tens of thousands of Irish families find themselves in this situation?
I offer this piece of advice to all who find themselves in this situation, tread carefully how you approach this. Do not stick your head in the sand, Offer a defense, Communicate with the lender, (do this through mail, not the phone), seek out help from people who know about the court procedure and can offer some guidance.
In court yesterday I also seen a family dwelling taken in a Balbriggan with a stroke of a pen because no defense was offered. make sure thats not you, turn up and defend your dwelling.
Visit the website Official Offer Made Simple.com