Circuit Court possession proceedings: Clarity due in early 2017 on the issue of Rateable Valuation
3 January, 2017
Following on from the decision of Mr Justice Hogan of the Court of Appeal in a Judgment delivered on 28 July 2016 in the case of Permanent TSB Plc –v- David Langan (details of which can be found here) attempts are underway to overcome the uncertainty surrounding reliance on the rateable valuation of a property to bring proceedings in the Circuit Court. The Supreme Court has granted leave to Permanent TSB Plc to appeal the decision of Mr Justice Hogan and it is expected that this decision will be delivered in or around April 2017.
In addition to this, in October 2016, the Courts Bill 2016 was published. The main purpose of this Bill is to deal with the consequences of Mr Justice Hogan’s decision, in particular to give jurisdiction to the Circuit Court to deal with proceedings in respect of properties no longer rateable under the Valuation Act 2001. It is also intended that the enactment of this legislation will be accompanied by the making of a Commencement Order which will bring provisions previously enacted in the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 into operation i.e. provisions which determine the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction on the basis of a property’s market value rather than its rateable valuation, namely where the market value is less than €3 million, the Circuit Court will have jurisdiction. The relevant sections of the Bill can be summarised as follows:
- Section 1: Where proceedings involving non-rateable property have already been initiated in the Circuit Court before the coming in to force of the Act, then the Circuit Court will be deemed to have jurisdiction. However, this “continuity” provision will not apply where:
- before the passing of the Act, a Court has already made a finding that it does not have jurisdiction or;
- after the passing of the Act, a Court makes a finding that it does not have jurisdiction, and before 26 October 2016, one or more of the parties to the proceedings or the Court itself has raised the issue of jurisdiction.
- Section 2: As mentioned above, the Circuit Court is to have jurisdiction in respect of properties with a market value of less than €3 million. This section provides for a situation where proceedings in respect of non-rateable property have already been initiated prior to the passing of the Act. The section provides that an Affidavit can be opened to the Court stating that the market value does not exceed the relevant monetary amount and it shall be presumed that this is the case, until the contrary is proved. Essentially it provides for a rebuttable presumption in respect of the market value.
- Section 6: This deals with an amendment of Section 60 of the Valuation Act 2001 and provides that production of a Section 67 Certificate will now be sufficient evidence of rateable valuation until the contrary is proved.
The timeframe for this Bill to be signed into law is unclear and until such time as the Supreme Court delivers its decision in the Langan case and/or this Bill is signed into law, the issue of rateable valuation remains in a state of uncertainty albeit with some hope that clarity will be provided in early 2017.
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