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Legal support

The first person you talk to when you contact Abhaile will be one of MAB’s dedicated mortgage arrears (DMA) advisers. Our DMA advisers are based all over the country and provide independent expert advice to people in difficulty with mortgage arrears. Your DMA adviser works with you to identify your best options and they are the person who gives you your voucher. If your DMA adviser thinks you need legal advice, they will give you with a voucher for a consultation with a solicitor – called a consultation solicitor. There are other legal services available such as a duty solicitor or court mentor.

How Abhaile can help you 

Your situation What voucher/help you can receive
Need legal advice Consultation with a solicitor  
Need legal advice at court hearing Duty solicitor  Provides advice to borrowers who do not have a solicitor at court. They may be able to speak for you in court.
Need legal advice at court hearing Court mentor  Provides information and support about the repossession and court process. However, they cannot give you legal advice or speak for you in court
Worked with a personal insolvency practitioner (PIP) and have proposed a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) to your creditors, but the creditors have refused your proposal Your PIP can ask the court to review the proposal.
Your situation What voucher/help you can receive
Have valid legal defence to the repossession of your home and want to apply for legal aid Apply to the legal aid board separately from Abhaile

Consultation solicitor

After you have completed your prescribed financial statement (PFS) or standard financial statement (SFS), your financial adviser may recommend that you consult a solicitor if there are legal issues. For example, your mortgage lender may have written to you seeking to repossess your home or proposing that you surrender it. Your DMA adviser can apply to MABS for a legal advice voucher for you. You can then choose a solicitor from the Abhaile panel, subject to availability. This solicitor will:
  • Assess and explain your legal position
  • Advise you on any repossession proceedings and any legal issues about your mortgage arrears
  • Write to you to confirm that legal advice
If the lender has already started the legal process to repossess your home, the consultation solicitor may, in certain circumstances, be able to negotiate for you to settle out of court. The solicitor will need to see any documents that are relevant in your case, particularly your up-to-date financial statement and any written financial advice that you have received under Abhaile.

Duty solicitor service

If you are facing Circuit Court repossession proceedings, you may be able to get some help at court from the duty solicitor. This is a solicitor from the  solicitor panel who is present at a Circuit Court on repossession hearing dates (on duty). You cannot choose the duty solicitor. The duty solicitor service is a limited service. It provides advice to borrowers who do not have a solicitor at court. Your consultation solicitor or DMA adviser will explain this in more detail. By the time your case goes to the Circuit Court, you should already have received written financial and legal advice under Abhaile, including advice from the consultation solicitor on any repossession proceedings. If you have not applied in time to get advice from the consultation solicitor, the duty solicitor may be able to help, but only if you have already applied to MABS. If your mortgage lender has already started repossession proceedings on your home, and you have not yet applied for Abhaile, contact MABS as soon as possible. The duty solicitor may be able to:
  • Speak for you in court and explain what steps you are taking to try and deal with your mortgage arrears
  • Apply for the proceedings to be adjourned (short break of a few weeks) if you are trying to put a solution in place
  • Explain to you what is happening in the proceedings
The duty solicitor cannot act as your legal aid solicitor or defend you in the repossession proceedings. Abhaile does not cover legal aid for defending repossession proceedings. You may need to agree fees with a solicitor separately or apply to the Legal Aid Board.

Court mentors

Court mentors are also present at the Circuit Court on repossession hearing dates. They can also give you information and support about the repossession and court process. However, they cannot give legal advice or speak for you in court.

Personal insolvency court review service

If you have worked with a personal insolvency practitioner (PIP) and have proposed a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) to your creditors that they have refused, your PIP can ask the courts to review it. Under this part of Abhaile, the Legal Aid Board can provide a solicitor and barrister to represent you in seeking a court review of your PIA proposal. If the court agrees that the proposal is fair and reasonable, it can make your creditors follow the proposal. Your PIP will apply to the Legal Aid Board for a solicitor for you. The PIP must confirm to the Board that you:
  • Have reasonable grounds (reasons) for seeking the court review
  • Meet the legal conditions for review
If the Legal Aid Board is satisfied with your application, it will grant you a Legal Aid Certificate. You and your PIP can then select a solicitor from the Abhaile solicitor panel to act on your behalf. Typically, the Legal Aid Board will cover the cost of a barrister (lawyer who represents you in court) from the Civil Legal Aid barristers’ panel. Under the Personal Insolvency Acts, your PIP  must apply to the court on your behalf for the review. This court review is covered by section 115A of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. If you have a valid legal defence to the repossession and want to apply for legal aid, please apply to the Legal Aid Board, separately from Abhaile.
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