Kevin O'Higgins is a regular contributor to the Law Gazette.
We include here links to his recent contributions, as well as articles of note from The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and other publications.
Kevin O'Higgins is a regular contributor to the Law Gazette.
We include here links to his recent contributions, as well as articles of note from The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and other publications.
A new company hopes to bring an end to rent deposit disputes, as thousands of students scramble to find accommodation.
Lesbian couples are much more likely to dissolve their relationships than gay ones, new figures published by the Court Service indicate.
Policies and zoning are behind high cost of homes in the capital but fixing the issue is a political quagmire, writes Colm McCarthy.
People are removing charity donations from their wills in the wake of the scandal at Console, according to a solicitor specialising in the area.
Couples set for the divorce courts will soon be forced to take part in mandatory mediation as part of a radical overhaul of the family law system, the Sunday Independent has confirmed.
The number of new cases entered into the country's fast-track Commercial Court have halved since 2010 as banks work through actions involving major debtors and companies opt for out-of-court mediation and arbitration.
Prime office rents in Dublin may have reached levels seen during the boom, but tenants are, in many cases, paying peak prices to occupy older buildings and on less favourable terms. The combination of the two factors is making it more expensive than ever in relative terms to secure Grade A office space in the capital.
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is planning to sell real estate loans with a face value of about €4bn, in what could be one of its last major disposal programmes, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
THOUSANDS of homeowners face a shock when mortgage interest relief ends next year, the Department of Finance has warned.
Some 20 years since divorce was first introduced in Ireland, the numbers opting to dissolve their marriages have been lower than expected. Ireland currently holds the lowest rate of divorce in Europe and the third lowest in the world, after Mexico and Chile.
It is often said that the only people to make money from divorce proceedings are the legal professionals involved. In our series on divorce and pre-nuptial agreements, we have examined the fear, anger and bitterness that shroud a marriage breakdown.
Deirdre Madden is a professor of Law at University College Cork and author of Medicine, Ethics and The Law. She believes electing to have a baby of a certain gender raises some challenging questions.
As high-profile new dads go, Mark Zuckerberg is playing a blinder. Fresh from donating huge wads of cash to charity in honour of his new daughter Max, and posting adorable snaps of dad and baby during her first swim, the Facebook founder finally went back to work this week, after a full two months' paternity leave from his demanding job.
If you are retired or near retirement but are also in the process of a separation or divorce, the issue of what to do about pensions is hugely important.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) is set to take over Bank of Ireland's former headquarters in one of the biggest office lettings of the year.
Two decades on from the referendum that legalised divorce in Ireland, we still have the lowest divorce rate in the EU.
Rent Review activity increased during 2015 primarily but not just as a result of the 5 year anniversary of the government legislation banning upwards only rent review ie. Section 132 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, which took effect in March 2010.
There are many election issues being pushed to the fore, but can any be more important than domestic violence? In a modern country with a well-educated population, the scourge of violence towards women and girls continues.
The Coalition has vowed to review the four-year wait for divorce if the parties are re-elected in 2016.
US fund Cerberus is winding up TD Mick Wallace’s property business just weeks after it succeeded in winning a €2 million judgment against him.
When the late, great Dean Martin was proclaiming to the world as far back as 1953 that "when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore," for some it was more than just "amore". It was a spectacular market opportunity.
It is a very sad fact that the start of the election campaign will now push the foster care scandal far down the news agenda to the point where it may never again receive the attention it deserves.
Some house-hunters can still borrow as much as they could before the Central Bank's lending rules kicked in, an analysis by the Sunday Independent has found.
When the wind blows and the sun shines, there is money being made. But how do renewables stack up against bricks and mortar as an investment option?
The extent to which this country really cares about child protection remains very much open to question. In 2012, a report was produced that reviewed the deaths of children who were either in the care of the State, or who were known to the State's care services, and why they died.
I have a confession to make. I am a (non-professional) landlord. It's not something I boast about these days as "landlord" has become a grubby word in Ireland. I am almost ashamed to admit to my shady sideline.
A retired journalist who bequeathed an estate with an estimated value of €500,000 to a builder friend did not have testamentary capacity to make the will, the High Court has ruled. The court made an order condemning a 2008 will that Claire Browne made in favour of Noel Wright, Kiltipper, Tallaght, Dublin. Ms Browne died in 2011, aged 91.
Irish construction firms have recorded their fastest growth in new orders in five months, figures indicate. The rate of job creation also picked up in November, according to Ulster Bank’s latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
After almost a decade in the doldrums, renewed activity is expected across a number of fronts in Cork city’s docklands and quays in 2016, with knock-on effects on major sites downriver in Cork harbour including Marino Point and Ringaskiddy.
The owners of a Dublin hotel have had their defence to a personal injuries claim by one of its staff struck out for "unconscionable delay" and lack of cooperation in dealing with the case.
Specialist family law courts established as divisions within existing court structures are to be provided for in draft legislation being worked on by the Department of Justice and Equality, the Seanad has been told.
Court makes orders preventing Eileen Gunning bringing fresh litigation without leave
A family of young children were taken into the care of the Child and Family Agency yesterday after the judge heard allegations of emotional abuse and neglect. Their father, who is separated from the children’s mother and not their carer, sobbed in court and begged the judge to allow him to have custody of his children.
Joe* went from being ‘at everything’ to his son wanting to build a wall between them
A parent who, following the breakdown of a relationship, attempts to turn their child or children against the other parent should be prosecuted, a support group has said.
The dire predictions that were floated by the opponents of divorce in 1995 have not been borne out.
That is according to former Supreme Court Judge, Catherine McGuinness who told the Merriman summer school on Wednesday “that the development of divorce law in the 1990s has produced a more equal situation between spouses”.
Ross Maguire of New Beginning said he thinks there are potentially thousands of AIB customers who fixed their mortgages for a defined period and then, when that period expired, were not informed of their right to return to a valuable tracker product.
BANKS will be free to repossess homes and investment properties by the summer after the Government published new legislation.
Rents in cities have hiked to exceed those charged in 2006 when the property prices were at their peak, the Irish Independent can reveal.
The number of homes being repossessed is continuing to rise with orders being granted at a rate of more than 60 per week when the courts are sitting, Courts Service figures show.
A group of Irish investors in a Radisson Blu Hotel in Southern France today launched a High Court challenge against AIB bank’s threat to take over their shares.
Implementing the changes to the Constitution requires the input of more than just a judge, as they have neither the training or capacity to make such an important decision
High Court says woman cannot be expected to stay in marriage and divides €7.4m estate
Three young Irish-born children abandoned by their parents in England are to be brought home and placed in care, the High Court was told.
European property management company Camelot plans to expand operations in Ireland
For the first time in memory a sole practitioner is the current president of the Law Society, Parchment Editor John Gear meets with Kevin O'Higgins and they chat about where the Dun Laoghaire practitioner is coming from, and where he intends to go in the coming year at the helm.
The Law Society’s new president, Kevin O’Higgins, talks to Mark McDermott about politics, family history, defending the solicitors’ profession, and his plans for his year in office.
I am a separated father and my daughter is 10 months old. My relationship with my ex-girlfriend ended, and then she discovered she was pregnant. Since my daughter was born, things have been difficult with my ex and she allows me to see my daughter for only one or two hours each week.
MY husband died last year. We had made wills leaving everything we had to each other, with instructions for bequests to the family afterwards. My name was on the deeds to the house we live in but we also owned a small farm and I only lately discovered that my name is not on the Folio.
In a piece for a collection of essays in memory of former attorney general the late Rory Brady, recently published by Round Hall, I described politicians as akin to players who get to write the rules for their own sport.
Starwood Capital Group, the American private investment firm, is in advanced negotiations to acquire four apart-hotels in London from developer Graham Harris in a deal that will see the low-profile property investor repay company debts of £206 million (€260 million) to the National Asset Management Agency in full.
The fight against international tax avoidance is likely to gain momentum after a massive cache of documents is published.
Multinationals are bracing themselves for more state aid investigations, following the publication of a massive cache of leaked corporate tax documents from Luxembourg.
Clara Malone lives in Sandyford, Dublin: "I’m the youngest of three girls. I was born in Dublin, but we moved to Cork when I was one. We came back to Dublin when I was 10."
Dalata’s proposed €455 million reverse takeover of most of the Moran Bewley group, approved by Dalata’s shareholders yesterday, is transformational for the company founded by former Jurys Doyle chief executive Pat McCann. It will transform not only the scale of its hotel room stock, but also the quality.
Last year saw the sharpest rates of house price growth in seven years and 2015 will see further price increases, although at more modest levels, according to the latest house price survey from MyHome.ie.
The retention of a requirement in the latest version of the Gender Recognition Bill that states applicants for legal gender recognition must be single amounts to “forced divorce” and is “neither necessary nor desirable”, the Equality Authority has said.
Betty Purcell, acting chair of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, with which the authority is merging, said the requirement will impose “significant hardship on families where a spouse or civil partner wishes to gain legal recognition of a preferred gender”.
Ms Purcell was speaking at the launch of a document on the Equality Authority’s observations on the revised Bill.
The long-running litigation over the Priory Hall apartment complex in Donaghmede, Dublin, which involved 41 families leaving their homes three years ago due to concerns over fire safety, has concluded with final orders being made at the Supreme Court.
The final orders were made on consent yesterday in proceedings brought by Dublin City Council and involving Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely, developer Larry O’Mahony and Mr McFeely’s Coalport Building Company. Two residents of Priory Hall, Sinéad Power and Graham Usher, were notice parties to those proceedings.
Franco-Irish couple Cathal and Claire O’Connor set up Amandine, a French-style bakery in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, in 2003, supplying supermarkets and cafes with French-style tarts, petit fours and cakes. They opened patisseries in City Square, Waterford, and Mahon Point, Cork, in 2010. Now they are planning to expand nationwide and are looking at franchising opportunities.
An order for the eviction of a couple from the home they have lived in for 15 years can be sent to the County Sheriff for execution, a judge has said.
Ms Justice Jacqueline Linane in the Circuit Civil Court said Martin (73) and Violet (61) Coyne had repeatedly failed to comply with orders to vacate their rented home in Carpenterstown, Dublin and were in contempt of court.
ACC Bank is seeking possession of the home because the landlord Daragh Ward went into receivership in 2012 and they want to sell the house to reduce his debt.
Landlords and owners of holiday homes are being urged to settle any outstanding NPPR charges before August 31st 2014 to avoid additional late payment penalties, which could be as high as €7,230.
The Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge of €200 was introduced in 2009 applied to people who owned a property that was not their private residence, with exemptions allowed for mobile homes and those involved in judicial separation or divorce. It was replaced with the property tax regime last year, but not all owners of multiple properties have yet complied with the charge.
EWLY appointed Children's Minister Charlie Flanagan recently announced plans to have an outline of the long-awaited Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill before the Dáil summer recess. But already cracks are already appearing in the plans.
It has been suggested that the proposed Bill will do no more than put the National Contact Preference Register on a statutory footing.
The report, by the global accountancy network UHY, found that Ireland's inheritance tax was more than three times the international average and far higher than that charged by other countries in the European Union.
A couple who inherit a property worth €2.16m in Ireland will lose 26 per cent of this to inheritance tax, according to the study.
This is more than six times the tax bill that would be faced on a similar inheritance in Italy and more than twice the bill paid in Germany.
PUBLIC servants attempting to move into industry will face one-year cooling-off periods under new legislation to be proposed by the Government. A bill is currently being prepared by Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that will curtail their ability to take on private sector roles after leaving State jobs.
MEDIATION is the only way forward for "messy and expensive" company law disputes according to the senior judge who manages corporate divorces. High Court judge Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said that company law disputes, often between longstanding friends and siblings, as well as husbands and wives, are highly expensive and time consuming, with many lasting for years.
THINKING of skipping off the dole queue to set up your own business?
If you've just lost your job, the thoughts of joining a 350,000-long dole queue could be particularly daunting. Another 100,000 people are expected to join it by the end of the year.
In the good old boom years, the Revenue Commissioners never really looked for tax from pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) workers. Times have changed and pennies are being counted. Over the last few weeks, the Revenue has started issuing requests for tax returns to 40,000 PAYE workers.
So what should you do if you receive one of these requests?
Brendan McDonagh sat close to the front row on Wednesday in the press room of the Department of Finance. The chief executive of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) listened as Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Frank Daly, his chairman, outlined a bold new vision for the property agency. This will see it reinvent itself, moving from its role as manager of toxic debts into that of investor in housing and the backbone of the future regeneration of Dublin’s Docklands.
Interest-only mortgages were one of the more lethal banking products developed during the boom and their full effect has yet to be felt. The Central Bank has pointed out that about half of the interest-only mortgages given to buy-to-let investors during the peak of the property market are due to revert to principal-and-interest repayment in the next 18 months.
A new book says couples should be compelled to take part in parenting plans and mediation before issuing divorce proceedings.
Family law solicitor Helen Collins is at her practice in Skibbereen, Co Cork, chatting informally with two clients. Both of the young women have lost their partners and are there for legal advice. Both are upset. One of them is telling the other two how important the support in the community has been since her partner died.
John and Martina Cummins have spent 10 years trying to become parents. After several attempts at IVF treatment the couple decided to adopt, applying to the HSE in 2009. When they were finally called to a preadoption course, in July 2010, it felt like a lot of information to absorb for something that still seemed so far away.
THE old saying that money doesn't buy happiness is true – however, it certainly helps determine a certain lifestyle for you and your family.
Financial security is hugely important – for an ordinary family, it can mean the ability to send their children to college, the freedom of a parent to take time out of work to look after children, or the chance for a couple to enjoy their retirement years.
The Rehab chairman insisted the board was not oblivious to the controversy.
With Frank Flannery and Angela Kerins nowhere to be seen yesterday, five of their former Rehab colleagues had an abject time of it in Leinster House as they endured hours of scepticism at the Public Accounts Committee.
A court has dismissed a defamation action taken by two members of Wicklow County Council against Wicklow county manager Eddie Sheehy.
Judge Thomas E O’Donnell ruled at Wicklow Circuit Court that Mr Sheehy was entitled to a defence of truth when he issued a press release naming councillors Barry Nevin of Bray and Tommy Cullen of Baltinglass as being responsible for a Department of the Environment review of a €3 million land acquisition, which had cost the council €200,000 in delays.
The former Bord Gáis chief executive John Mullins is still hungry to succeed.
He has teamed up with his friend Aidan Murphy, the former director of golf at Druid’s Glen resort in Wicklow, to buy the master franchise for Ireland for noodle chain Wok to Walk.
If you’re happy renting it seems to make sense to stay put but there may be a financial cost in doing so
New orders drove growth in the Republic’s building industry last month to its fastest pace since January 2006, according to figures published today. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) shows the sector expanded in March, its seventh consecutive month of growth, signalling that a recovery that began late last year continues to gather momentum.
Government rejects SF Bill to rebalance repossession rules in favour of home owner.
Minister of State Paschal Donohoe said the Attorney General was considering the requirement that in repossession proceedings a court could instruct a lending institution to ‘respect the terms of any tenancy agreement in place’.
Bill was originally drafted and presented by Wexford TD Dr Liam Twomey in 2010.
The Government has published draft legislation for a Bill to allow terminally ill people to make “living wills” setting out treatments they wish, and do not wish, to have at the end of their lives. Minster for Health James Reilly yesterday brought the general scheme of the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Bill to Government, where it was approved by Cabinet colleagues.
OECD plan to make practice of shifting locations ineffective.
New rules aimed at preventing the type of aggressive tax avoidance schemes run by some of the largest multinational employers here will begin to be introduced in September, according to a draft report seen by The Irish Times. Structures that artificially shift profits to locations where they are taxed at more favourable rates, or not taxed at all, are to be “rendered ineffective”, the draft report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development says.
Fall off in McDonald’s Zone A rent is in line with rental movements on the street.
McDonald’s fast food chain is to have its rent reduced by 47 per cent on Dublin’s Grafton Street less than two weeks before the Supreme Court is due to review a separate High Court ruling that the rent on another Grafton Street café, Bewley’s, must be allowed to fall in line with the depressed open market rate.
The United Kingdom often seems the logical place for overseas franchisors from English-speaking countries to begin their European expansion. The language is similar. There is a well-developed franchising community that is supported by the lending banks. There are an array of experienced legal and practical advisors, and a wide choice of franchise and small business magazines and exhibitions in which to promote the opportunity. Once established in the UK, the business then has a natural springboard into mainland Europe.
The Public Accounts Committee has been given a legal warning that it is in danger of straying outside of its remit in the way it is carrying out its hearings and investigations.
Melissa English, the parliamentary legal adviser in Leinster House, was responding to concerns from a number of PAC members about how the committee was conducting itself in recent weeks.
Online insurance broker Blue Insurances has announced the buyout of one of its founder directors, Rowan Devereux, for just under €10 million.
Managing director Ciaran Mulligan and Mr Devereux founded the business, which specialises in travel insurance, ten years ago.
It now employs 32 staff and has an annual turnover of over €20 million.
Headfort is a private day and boarding school established in 1949. It has a staff of 30 and has 95 pupils between the prep school and Montessori.
One in five of all Irish households rent from a private landlord, and in places like Galway, this number is closer to one in three. The doubling of numbers renting since 2006 has caught us unawares.
The national average residential property price increase for the 12 months to the end of December was put at 6.4 per cent compared with a year-on-year increase of 5.6 per cent to the end of the previous month and a decrease of 4.5 per cent recorded in 2012.
Recovery in the Dublin office market is now “firmly entrenched”, according to the latest Irish office market review from agent DTZ Sherry FitzGerald.
Take-up in the capital during 2013 reached 119,300sq m while 22,500sq m of office space was under construction, said Marian Finnegan, its chief economist.
Victims of domestic violence and human trafficking must be priorities for future immigration reforms, the Immigrant Council of Ireland has said. The council said the Government had made progress on immigration reform in 2013 but urged it to put particular focus on vulnerable groups as it prepares to publish the long-awaited Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill.
The rules surrounding capital acquisitions tax have changed in recent years, but there are still ways to keep your returns low.
You might be fed up with the impact of years of tax increases, but it is worth remembering that the Government is not content simply to take more off you while you are alive. It’s also going after your estate.
The social housing waiting list figures produced recently by the Housing Agency, showing almost 90,000 households in need, represent a 30 per cent increase since the start of the global financial crisis in 2007.
Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan gave a thoughtful speech to a conference last week, jointly organised by the European Commission and Trinity College, which looked at “Future Directions for the Irish Economy”. The Governor focussed his remarks on the banking system: his review of the demise of the Irish banks was familiar but nevertheless fascinating. His hints about the difficulties associated with negotiating the bailout are worth a read.
Keen interest in receiver sale due to the obvious development potential of site.
London & Regional Properties, the UK-based investment fund, has bought the former headquarters of the Irish Nationwide Building Society for close to the asking price of €13 million.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter says the reforms will provide valuable information to the public, judiciary and legal professionals. “However, the public’s right to know has to be balanced with a family’s right to privacy.”
Almost two children a day are being abducted by a parent in the UK and taken abroad, the British government has said. The number of abduction and international custody cases being reported to the British foreign office has doubled over the last decade, rising to 580 in 2012/2013.
“Survival” is the main challenge facing many solicitor practices across the country today. That is the stark message delivered by the newly-elected president of the Law Society of Ireland John Shaw.
Construction will be one of the main areas of focus for the Government next year as part of wider effort to boost employment, and changes to local planning laws and a tax on unused sites are being considered.
National Toll Roads (NTR) has received a multi-million euro refund from the taxpayer after successfully appealing a 2005 valuation of its M50 West-Link bridge on which it had paid commercial rates for five years.
Aviva has completed the closure of its branch network Aviva Direct in Ireland, following the transfer of its life and pensions customers to a group of brokers.
Lone Star, the Dallas-based private equity firm led by John Grayken, has bought loans associated with one of Dublin’s best-located office blocks for about €75 million.
Heavy demand for prime floor space has sparked the office market into life
The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) provides for two different exemptions from the payment of local property tax (LPT) for residential properties that are purchased from 1 January 2013.