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McKillen wins Supreme Court appeal over NAMA transfers

The decision to acquire the loans of developer Paddy McKillen was made before NAMA came to exist, the Supreme Court finds.

THE SUPREME COURT has upheld the appeal by property developer Paddy McKillen against the National Asset Management Agency, which had attempted to take control of €2.1bn of McKillen’s loans from Bank of Ireland.

McKillen successfully challenged the High Court’s earlier decision not to block the transfer, by arguing that the decision to acquire his loans had been made before the legislation officially establishing NAMA was enacted.

The Court found that NAMA had not made a formal decision to acquire its loans; the decision was made by the interim team which operated before NAMA itself was established.

The decision of the interim administration was not automatically assumed to have been a decision of NAMA itself, the Court ruled.

The Court ruled against another aspect of the challenge, however, where McKillen unsuccessfully argued that the European Commission’s permission for the establishment of the agency did not allow it to acquire ‘performing’ or unimpaired loans.

If NAMA now decides to pursue the transfer of the loans, RTÉ’s Orla O’Donnell reported, then the Court will be required to rule on another three aspects of McKillen’s legal challenge.

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Those aspects included a claim that the NAMA Act, which formally established the body, did not allow a debtor to make any submissions before their loans were moved – a method McKillen claimed was at odds with a constitutional right to fair procedure.

The case will return to the court on Wednesday where counsel for both sides will be asked to make submissions in the remaining three aspects of McKillen’s appeal.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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