The Mick Clifford Podcast: Master of all he surveyed - Ed Honohan

Ed Honohan tells the podcast about how he tried to assist lay litigants, why the courts are inaccessible to most people and why one day he felt it necessary to break a window in his court.
The Mick Clifford Podcast: Master of all he surveyed - Ed Honohan

On this week's podcast, Mick Clifford speaks with retired master of the High Court Ed Honohan.

Recently retired master of the High Court Ed Honohan was often in the headlines because of his interventionist approach to the job.

Mr Honohan’s court was the first stop for hundreds of people who found themselves drowning in a sea of debt in the aftermath of the economic collapse in 2008.

He gained a reputation as being a thorn in the side of banks who were of the belief they just had to show up and put their hands out to retrieve the loans which they had handed out with gusto when the Celtic Tiger was astride.

Mr Honohan tells the podcast about how he tried to assist lay litigants, why the courts are inaccessible to most people and why one day he felt it necessary to break a window in his court.

 

Mr Honohan could sense that some women who came before him had lost husbands to suicide through the pressure brought on by big debts, he tells the Mick Clifford podcast.

He says he sometimes noticed that two people would be listed as parties to a debt but only one would end up in court.

“I could see it in the widow’s eyes when it was stated that the first named defendant wasn’t there,” he says.

You would have cases brought by a bank where they knew one of the defendants had died.

"The message may have got to the solicitor for the bank but he wouldn’t think it necessary to go back and check with the bank whether they wanted him to proceed with the case and there it would be.” 

Mr Honohan also says that there are times when a bank would bring a case all the way to a High Court hearing and then cave in just before the matter was heard because they knew they were in the wrong but were hoping that the defendant would settle earlier because of the potential ruinous costs involved in litigation.

He also spoke of his embarrassment at the public support he received when the president of the High Court removed from his jurisdiction debt cases.

“The pattern (of dealing with cases) I had established was causing problems and it was felt that certain parties might be happier if I wasn’t dealing with cases at all,” he told the podcast.

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