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Refusal of Order for Sale in Respect of Co-Owned Lands (10.6.2011)

In May the Supreme Court refused an order for sale to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in Irwin v. Deasy, [2011] IESC 15. The revenue had sought the order to satisfy judgment debts. The land the subject of the action was co-owned by a man and his wife from whom he was separated. It was ruled that the courts do not have jurisdiction to order a sale of land or partition of land in circumstances where the sale is to satisfy judgment debts of only one of the owners of co-owned land.

This judgment applies only to judgment mortgages against registered property. The debt must have been registered prior to the enactment of the Land and Conveyancing Reform Act 2009 (the “2009 Act”) on 1st December 2009.

This case is very important as it applies to property not just land. For instance this results in co-owned matrimonial homes not being able to be sold under order for satisfaction of a judgment debt where only one of those owners is the debtor.

This decision will not apply to debts registered on or after 1st December 2009 against registered land. The 2009 Act will apply to such debts, under which the court may make an order for sale of co-owned lands in certain circumstances.
 

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