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A new approach to personal debt litigation:  

The role of the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights

2 CPD points

Upcoming dates:

There are no more seminars planned.


The end of the Irish lending boom has left many individuals and families with unsustainable levels of personal debt.  This seminar, co-organised by the ICEL, the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy (CHLRP) at the School of Law, NUI Galway, will examine how the Unfair Contract Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive (UCTD) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights might assist borrowers in debt related proceedings.  Based on the UCTD and the Charter, the CJEU has been developing the law in this area, which can be applied by the Irish courts.  All the papers and other materials are available for download here.


The issues raised in this seminar are the subject of a judicial review, Grant v Laois County Registrar.  The applicants were granted leave to review a repossession order of their family home and the case is currently waiting opposition papers from Pepper Finance. the Notice Party.  For a report in the Irish Times about the case, click here.


On 21st December Mr Justice Barrett delivered judgment in AIB v Counihan where he accepted that all Irish judges have an obligation to carry out an assessment of the terms of contracts falling within the Unfair Terms Directive.  This is a long standing obligation under EU law and this judgment could have a very significant impact on the rights of consumers in all cases, especially in home repossessions.  The judgment can be found here and the report in the Irish Times here.


Confirmed speakers and chairs

  • Marguerite Angelari, Senior Attorney, Open Society Justice Initiative – The debtor as a consumer, an overview of the key provisions of the UCTD and relevant case law

  • Dr Padraic Kenna, NUI Galway –The key role of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in debt cases

  • Gary Fitzgerald BL, Director of the ICEL – Procedural issues in debt litigation, including Article 267 References

  • Madeleine Thornton, Emma Coffey Solicitors– Putting this into practice – protecting consumer rights

  • Julie Sadlier, Kieran Mulcahy Solicitors - Moderator




Seminars took place on the following dates:

Dublin - 10th November @ 16:30 - Dublin Dispute Resolution Centre, Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin 7 

Galway - 25th November  @ 14:00 - Galway Court House 

Cork - 7th December  @ 16:30   - Imperial Hotel, Cork 

Limerick - 22nd February  2017 @ 16:30 Savoy Hotel, Henry Street

Waterford - 23rd March 2017 - 16:00 Viking Hotel, Cork Road, Waterford



Who should attend? Judges, registrars, barristers, solicitors, and other members of the legal profession


These seminars are free but registration is essential.  Click here to register.

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The ICEL Evershed Sutherland Procurement Conference will take place on 28th June 2018.  Click here for further information.


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Over the past 20 years, the Irish Centre for European Law has provided an important forum for debate and discussion on major developments in the area of EU law. It has been the link between legal practitioners, academics and representatives of the wide range of sectors affected by European Law

Mary McAleese
President of Ireland

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