Abhaile Solicitors Panel
What is the Abhaile Solicitors Panel?
A Scheme, called Abhaile, was announced on 22nd January 2016 by the Minister for Justice and Equality to help people who are insolvent and in mortgage arrears on their home, to access independent financial and legal advice. Abhaile is co-ordinated by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Social Protection, in co-operation with relevant agencies including the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) (which acts as the gateway for people to access advice under the Scheme), the Insolvency Service of Ireland, the Citizens Information Board and the Legal Aid Board.
The Legal Aid Board has established a panel of solicitors willing to provide the following services to persons eligible for Abhaile:
- A Solicitor Consultation Service;
- A 'Duty Solicitor' service at court (repossession lists), and
- A Personal Insolvency Arrangement Review Legal Aid Service.
What are the requirements to join?
If you want to join this panel you will need to:
- be a Solicitor practicing in the State
- have sufficient professional indemnity insurance
- comply with the tax clearance requirements for public sector contracts
- attend the training we organise
- demonstrate to the our satisfaction that you have either:
- recent experience in providing legal services in home repossession cases, which must include experience in advocacy before the Circuit Court in such cases; or
- experience in providing legal services in relation to personal insolvency arrangements.
This is just a summary. The full requirements are in our Terms and Conditions which you must agree to if you want to provide services as part of this Panel.
What do I need to do to join?
To join the panel, fill out an application form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will find the application form in the Terms and Conditions and you can download it here.
You will need to attend the training we organise before you can provide services. We provided training for interested solicitors on 8th April 2016 and again on 27th January 2017. If you attended either training session, let us know in the cover email. We will check against our attendance list.
All appointments are for solicitors personally and not in the name of the firm. If a number of solicitors in your firm want to join the panel, you must send separate application forms for each solicitor. You can send them under the one cover email.
What about barristers?
If you are a barrister, and want to provide services under Abhaile, you need to join the barristers' panel for civil legal aid. You can find out more here.
In general, we will authorise one junior counsel for each PIA review case. We might authorise Senior Counsel is some circumstances.
One of the conditions of being accepted onto the Panel will be attendance at one of our Abhaile training days.
We held a training event for professionals interested in providing services under Abhaile on 8th April 2016. You can find some of the materials from speakers at the event below. They may be useful if you are deciding whether or not to join the panel.
ISI Solutions - Lorcan O'Connor, Insolvency Service of Ireland
Dedicated Mortgage Arrears Advice Service - Annemarie O'Connor and James Glynn, MABS
Personal and Corporate Insolvency Solutions - Eugene McDarby, UHY
Court Review of Personal Insolvency Arrangement - Jane Marshall, McCann Fitzgerald
Mortgage Arrears, Contract Obligations and Repossessions Law - Paul Joyce, Free Legal Advice Centres
Bankruptcy - Christopher Lehane, Insolvency Service of Ireland
Rights to Housing: What Rights Does a Person Have if they Lose their Home? - Rose Wall, Community Law & Mediation