Huw Worthington considers the statistical press release revealing the figures for cases received by the Chancery division relating to Mortgages.
The sad reality of the economic and property downturn in Northern Ireland was highlighted by the publication on 16th November 2012 of a Statistical Press Release from the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.
The statistical press release provides the figures for cases received (i.e. Writs and originating Summonses issued), cases disposed and Orders made in respect of Mortgages in the Chancery Division of the Northern Ireland High Court for the third quarter of 2012 (July-September). The number of applications received by the Court during the third quarter was 986 which is a 7% decrease in the number of cases received compared to the corresponding third quarter in 2011 when 1,063 cases were received.
The annual trend since 2007 makes interesting reading with the number of mortgage cases received by the Court increasing from 2212 in 2007 to a peak of 3906 in 2009. The 2012 annual figures are yet to include October to December figures but are sitting at 2855 first three quarters.
So what do the above statistics mean? The Press Release is at pains to point out that Not all Writs and originating Summonses lead to eviction or re/possession A Plaintiff (usually a Bank) begins an action for an order for possession of property. The Court, following a judicial hearing, may grant an Order for Possession. This entitles the Plaintiff to apply to have the Defendant evicted. However, even where an Order for Eviction is issued the parties can still negotiate a compromise to prevent eviction.
In conclusion, if you are in danger of losing your job or are struggling with the monthly mortgage payments you MUST arrange to speak to your Lender as a matter of priority. The Banks are now becoming more experienced in dealing with financially distressed customers and often appear to be “working” with customers in a sympathetic way to ensure threat losing the family home is very much a last resort.
Huw Worthington is a founding Partner of Worthingtons Solicitors Northern Ireland and is head of the private client department. Huw specialises in Residential property and Estate Planning Solutions, Wills and Probate.
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