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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

Woman and ex-partner who re-occupied their former south Dublin residence facing €60,000 legal bill

The woman and the couple’s teenage daughters entered the house after other occupants had been forced out.

A WOMAN AND her former partner who re-occupied her former South Dublin residence are facing a legal bill of €60,000 after a High Court judge ruled they should pay the costs of injunction proceedings against them.

The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were before the court after a house formerly owned by the man, where his former partner and their two teenage daughters had resided, was late last month re-entered resulting in the eight occupants being forced out.

Shawl Property Investments Ltd, which in September bought the house from a receiver appointed by a financial fund over the property, secured temporary injunctions against the pair, requiring them to vacate the premises.

The couple then agreed to vacate the property, have consented to the injunction being put in place until the case has been determined and in a letter to the court apologised for their actions.

Yesterday Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds, following an application by Rossa Fanning SC for Shawl, said that the couple should pay the legal costs of the injunction application, which the court heard are €60,000.

The matter was before the court for a few hours spread over three separate days.

Fanning said the costs were on a solicitor-client basis, the highest level of legal fees, in order to mark the “wholly illegal” actions of the defendants who he said could have no defence to the claim against them.

The Judge in agreeing to measure costs on a solicitor-client basis refused to put a stay on the order, but adjourned a request by Shawl for an interim payment of the legal costs incurred.

John Donelan Bl for the couple said it was accepted that Shawl was entitled to its costs, but said a stay should be placed on that order until the full hearing of the action had been determined.

Counsel said his clients intended to defend allegations made against them and bring a counterclaim in respect of the property.

The Judge adjourned the case for a month to allow the parties to discuss a timetable for the hearing of the action.

Proceedings brought

Shawl brought proceedings after the occupants at the property were forced out of the premises by the defendants.

It claims the man and six accomplices broke into the Dublin 6 property, changed the locks and forced out the occupants.

The woman and the couple’s teenage daughters entered the house later on that evening.

Shawl claims the occupation was illegal, and that the couple were well aware that they have no rights to the house.

Shawl also claims there has been “orchestrated attempts” by persons connected to the couple to force it out of the Dublin 6 property, and another house in Dublin 4 which it bought that had also previously been owned by the man.

The house at the centre of the dispute was one of several purchased by the man with EBS loans over a decade ago.

In 2011 EBS Ltd got a €9.4m judgment against the man over the loans which had been secured on the properties.

A receiver was appointed over the properties, none of which were ever a family home. Beltany Property Finance acquired the loans from EBS in 2017.

The woman claimed she had obtained orders in family law proceedings including a right of residence in the Dublin 6 property and claimed she would have been surrendering her family law rights if she had vacated it.

Her claims were rejected by the courts, clearing the way for the receiver to sell the properties to Shawl.

Arising out of the woman’s refusal to comply with orders granting the receiver possession she was jailed for contempt last May.

She was released from Mountjoy Prison in late August after giving undertakings to vacate the property.

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Aodhan O Faolain
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