Interest Offset Mechanisms – Lifting the Veil

Interest Offset Mechanisms are a facility where two or more bank accounts are grouped for the purposes of charging interest. On a daily basis, the Bank’s computer combines the cleared balances of these accounts, and accrues interest (at a pre-agreed lending rate) to this net balance. Interest Offset Mechanisms are typically available to two or more current accounts, which are either in the same business name or in the names of related companies. Certain company law requirements must be complied with, before an offset can be implemented between two limited companies. Interest Offset Mechanisms must not be assumed to be in place. In many instances, Irish banks will not unilaterally volunteer to set one up unless instructed by the client. A typical Standard Lending Term involves offsetting between two or more current accounts, at a standard rate of 1 per cent. It is less common for offsetting to take place between a current account and a loan account. Some banks claim not to provide Interest Offset  Mechanisms to client facilities in any circumstances, while others allow only a limited offset – for example, up to a certain debit balance threshold. Some banks can, in the right circumstances, implement  Interest Offset Mechanisms between current accounts held in different branches of the same group. Interest Offset Mechanisms are a major driver of bank profitability, and can be an integral part of the lending facility structures of: public limited companies; large private companies; professional practices; not-for-profit sectors, including the public sector and charities. For example a  motor dealership might require an interest offset mechanism between: the motor dealership and the related computer...

GDPR silver lining

If Data is the new Gold, then GDPR [the Regulation] is the Great Equaliser, for European citizens at least. Many government bodies, businesses of various sizes and large corporates are already bemoaning the bureaucracy & potential sanctions accompanying the introduction of GDPR as mandatory in May 2018. Data is knowledge and knowledge is power. That is why data protection is central to our democracy here in Europe, and is a Fundamental Right of all European Citizens under the European Charter of Fundamental Human Rights (Treaty of Lisbon, Article-8 December 2009). GDPR silver lining strand-1 – is that it not only seeks to affirm this fundamental right but goes much further in specifying a set of Regulations (or fully fledged European regulations – laws) to deliver-on this Fundamental Right to Data Protection. The personal data of any particular customer  is intrinsically worth very little to anyone else, but the ‘mining’ or ‘harvesting’ of such data gives it a very significant value to the likes of FANG, (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google). From 25th May 2018 any European citizen has the right to know what data is held on them, and in some cases to demand its deletion. Citizens of Europe can invoke the Right to be Forgotten, by requiring Search Engine Corporates to remove facts about them, not from the web itself, but from results of Searches. GDPR silver lining strand-2 Another strand of the GDPR silver lining, which is less obvious but much more critical is a right of appeal to a human being against decisions which have been taken by an Algorithm (or mathematical model). Computers and Servers are...

Expert Witness in Ireland

The primary function of an Expert Witness in Ireland is to assist the Irish courts in matters within his/her sphere of specialist expertise. The retention of an Expert Witness in Ireland is a common feature of litigation. As in most cases [where they are former-Legal Practitioners], Judges are typically well-qualified to adjudicate on allegations of legal negligence without additional aid from an expert. Where an Expert Witness is being retained, there is an obligation on Instructing Solicitors to ensure that the costs of litigation are proportionate. Expert Witness in Ireland – liability There is now a possibility that Expert witnesses can be subject to claims in negligence arising from failure to exercise reasonable skill and care in providing their Expert Evidence. The courts in Ireland have held that an Expert in Ireland will have discharged his/her duty to their client if they provide an independent and unbiased opinion, which is within the range of ‘reasonable expert opinions’. Therefore, experts who have proactively and mindfully engaged in the process of presenting expert evidence are likely to satisfy these criteria vis-à-vis their liability. Expert Witness in Ireland –  Immunity Expert Witness in Ireland immunity has been upheld in a number of recent Irish precedent cases. One of the leading cases – Looney v the Governor and the Company of Bank of Ireland & Morey – provided that a Court could suspend an Expert Witness’s immunity if the witness was found to have made defamatory (or malicious) statements. In a UK case in 2015, one reason cited for abolishing expert witness immunity was the public policy argument that Experts should be accountable...
Profiling GDPR

Profiling GDPR

Profiling GDPR, Ireland It is now widely accepted that Data is the new Oil (2006, Clive Humby, UK mathematician & inventor of the Tesco Clubcard). Today, there is a new “gang of four,” as Google chairman Eric Schmidt puts it [Profiling GDPR Eric Schmidt Gang of Four ] . They are Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook [GAAF], and they are behind the consumer revolution on the Internet today. All four companies are “growing at incredible rates”. Schmidt notes that all four are together worth in excess of half a trillion dollars, they are all platforms in their own right, and they are all basically spreading their power where before there was only one company who had such influence: namely, Microsoft User Profiling The core businesses of the GAAF have now fundamentally converged into Profiling. Article 4 of the GDPR defines Profiling as “any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of using those data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyse or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements”. Article 22 goes on to state that a European Citizen has the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, [including profiling] which produces legal effects or similarly significantly affects, with certain exemptions to this, Profiling GDPR – Recital-71 – April 2017 Through Profiling of all of its users, the GAAF Corporates know who your best friends are, your preferred holiday destinations and your relationship status. Over-and-above this there is a colossol quantity of...

AIB Belfry Cases

AIB Belfry cases progressing in Court Approximately 300 investors in AIB Belfry cases (out of an estimated 3000 investors in the six Funds) are pursuing damages for alleged negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent mismanagement and misrepresentation by AIB and other parties. Last month the Irish Times reporting on AIB Belfry cases (in a preliminary ruling in April 2017) a High Court judge approved hundreds of damages actions by investors in the Belfry property funds to go to a full trial on some, but not all, of the grounds advanced. The Court found, while some elements of the claims are statue-barred, other parts of the claims can now proceed to trial. The claims involve the operation of five separate investment funds into commercial property in the UK known as “the AIB Belfry Funds”. Affidavits claim individuals invested sums of between €50,000 and €200,000 in the funds between 2002 and 2006. Some cases involved individuals’ life savings to have been designated as pension funds. Seemingly the Statute of Limitations may not protect the various classes of Defendants if fraud in the mis-selling & operation of the AIB Belfry Funds can be evidenced. Loan to Value covenants In his preliminary ruling after 11-months, Judge Haughton decided on 28th April 2017 crucially, the investors’ contentions of alleged failure to advise them about aspects of the funds known as a loan-to-value (LTV) covenant before they invested are not statue-barred. It is claimed these covenants permitted assets which the fund had invested in to be sold if their value fell below a certain amount. These asset sales, it is claimed, occurred...