4 1923

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Number 4.


ENFORCEMENT OF LAW (OCCASIONAL POWERS) ACT, 1923.


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Appointment of Under-Sheriffs.

2.

Employment of bailiffs by Under-Sheriffs.

3.

Bailiff to produce warrant of authority.

4.

Inventory of chattels seized to be made.

5.

Certain chattels exempt from seizure.

6.

Under-Sheriff may sell at any time.

7.

Under-Sheriff may sell outside his bailiwick.

8.

Validity of purchases from Under-Sheriff.

9.

Interruption of Under-Sheriff's custody not to prejudice sale.

10.

No action to lie against Under-Sheriff for entering or breaking premises.

11.

Under-Sheriff not to be liable for seizing or selling in excess.

12.

Appointment of fees to be charged by or paid to Under-Sheriffs and others.

13.

Places in which Quarter Sessions and Civil Bill Courts may be held.

14.

Service of civil bills and jurors summonses may be deemed good.

15.

Power to stay execution in certain cases.

16.

Short Title and duration.


Act Referred to

Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922

No. 2 of 1922

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Number 4.


Enforcement of Law (Occasional Powers) Act, 1923.


AN ACT TO PREVENT THE OBSTRUCTION OF LEGAL REMEDIES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE BETTER ENFORCEMENT OF LAW, AND FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH. [1st March, 1923.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS OF SAORSTÁT EIREANN AS FOLLOWS:—

Appointment of Under-Sheriffs.

1. —(1) For the purpose of the application of section 11 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922 (No. 2 of 1922) to section 1 of the Sheriffs (Ireland) Act, 1920, (10 & 11 Geo. V., ch. 26), the member of the Executive Council for the time being Minister for Home Affairs shall be deemed to be the Minister or authority exercising in Saorstát Eireann functions the same as or corresponding to the functions which prior to the 6th day of December, 1921, were in the area now comprised in Saorstát Eireann exercised by the Lord Lieutenant under the said section 1 of the Sheriffs (Ireland) Act, 1920, and accordingly all the powers conferred by the said section 1 shall be vested in and exercisable by such member of the Executive Council and the expression “the Minister” wherever the same occurs in this Act means such member of the Executive Council.

(2) No oath of office or other oath shall be administered to or required to be taken by any person appointed after the passing of this Act to be Under-Sheriff but in lieu thereof every person so appointed shall before entering on his office subscribe and make a solemn declaration in a form to be prescribed by an order of the Minister that he will duly perform the duties of his office, and section 14 of the Statute 12 George I., c. 4 (Irish), shall be read as if the making by every Under-Sheriff of the Declaration so to be prescribed were substituted for the taking of the Oath prescribed by that section and for the making of the Declaration prescribed by the Sheriffs (Ireland) Adaptation of Enactments Order, 1922.

(3) If the Minister shall be at any time satisfied that any Under-Sheriff is by reason of illness, unavoidable absence, or for any cause whatever unable, or is unwilling, to perform the functions or properly to discharge the duties of his office for the time being, then and in that case the Minister may appoint any person (whether a person possessing the qualifications prescribed by sub-section (3) of section 1 of the Sheriffs (Ireland) Act, 1920, or not) to act as deputy for such Under-Sheriff during such time at such remuneration (to be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas) and upon such terms as the Minister may by Order specify and the person so appointed shall for the purposes of any and every power authority immunity and protection given by law to the Under-Sheriff be deemed to be the Under-Sheriff for the same bailiwick, and all writs decrees and other documents in the hands of the Under-Sheriff for execution shall be forthwith handed over to such deputy who shall deal with the same in all respects as if he were a lawfully appointed Under-Sheriff

Employment of bailiffs by Under-Sheriffs.

2. —(1) From and after the passing of this Act it shall not be obligatory upon any Under-Sheriff to employ any bailiff to assist him in the execution of a writ of fieri facias or writ of habere or other writ or to employ any bailiff appointed under Section 5 of the Civil Bill Courts Procedure Amendment Act (Ireland), 1864 (27 & 28 Vict., ch. 99), to assist him in the execution of his duties under that Act, but in lieu of or in addition to such bailiffs it shall be lawful for any Under-Sheriff to employ such and so many suitable persons as he shall think fit to assist him in the execution of any or every writ of fieri facias or writ of habere or other writ and of any or every decree or order (whether for debt, possession of lands or otherwise) of a Civil Bill Court.

(2) Any person employed by an Under-Sheriff as bailiff under this section may be employed at a weekly or other wage to assist him generally in the execution of such writs and decrees or orders as aforesaid or may be employed specially to assist the Under-Sheriff in the execution of a particular writ or decree or order.

(3) Wherever persons are employed by an Under-Sheriff under this section to assist him generally in the execution of such writs and decrees or orders as aforesaid the number and rate of remuneration of such persons (to be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas) shall be subject to the approval of the Minister, and the sanction of the Minister for Finance.

(4) Wherever any persons are employed specially by an Under-Sheriff under this section to assist him in the execution of a particular writ or decree or order the number and remuneration of such persons shall be in the discretion of the Under-Sheriff subject to the sanction of the County Court Judge on appeal by the debtor.

(5) Every person employed under this section by an Under-Sheriff to assist him in the execution of a writ of fieri facias or a writ of habere shall have all the powers which are by law vested in a bailiff employed by an Under-Sheriff for that purpose, and every person employed under this section by an Under-Sheriff to assist him in the execution of any decree or order of a Civil Bill Court shall have all the powers which are by law vested in a bailiff appointed under the Civil Bill Courts Procedure Amendment Act (Ireland), 1864 (27 & 28 Vict., ch. 99).

Bailiff to produce warrant of authority.

3. —It shall be the duty of a bailiff and of any other person employed by an Under-Sheriff pursuant to section 2 (1) of this Act, immediately upon entry and before seizure, to produce on demand to the defendant (or other the person in apparent possession of the lands and premises upon which he or they shall enter) the warrant of his or their authority from the Under-Sheriff, and to deliver a true copy thereof to such defendant or other person.

Inventory of chattels seized to be made.

4. —It shall be the duty of every Under-Sheriff under whose authority execution shall be levied upon goods, animals, or other chattels, to cause an itemised inventory of the chattels seized to be made out and within 48 hours of seizure and, if practicable, before any removal to cause to be furnished to the defendant (or other the person in apparent possession of such chattels) a duplicate of such inventory, signed by the Under-Sheriff or by a person acting on his behalf.

Certain chattels exempt from seizure.

5. —From and after the passing of this Act, the necessary wearing apparel and bedding of a person against whom an execution shall be levied, and the necessary wearing apparel and bedding of his family, and the tools and implements of his trade, not exceeding in the whole the value of £15, shall be exempt from liability to seizure.

Under-Sheriff may sell at any time.

6. —(1) It shall be lawful for any Under-Sheriff who shall after the passing of this Act take any goods, animals or other chattels in execution under a writ of fieri facias or under a decree of a Civil Bill Court to sell by public auction such goods, animals or other chattels at any time after the expiration of a period of twenty-four hours after he shall have taken the same in execution, but so that he shall not allow any unreasonable delay to occur, and it shall not be necessary for the Under-Sheriff to publish or announce that any such sale is a sale by an Under-Sheriff or is a sale of goods, animals or chattels taken in execution.

(2) So much of section 28 of the Civil Bill Courts Procedure Amendment Act (Ireland), 1864 (27 & 28 Vict., ch. 99), as prescribes times within which goods or cattle taken in execution under any decree of a Civil Bill Court shall or shall not be sold is hereby repealed.

Under-Sheriff may sell outside his bailiwick.

7. —(1) Notwithstanding any statute, rule of law or order to the contrary any Under-Sheriff who shall have taken goods, animals or other chattels in execution under any writ of fieri facias or under any decree of a Civil Bill Court may sell such goods, animals and chattels by public auction at such place or places, whether within or outside his bailiwick, and whether within or outside the territorial boundaries of Saorstát Eireann in which in his opinion such goods, animals and chattels can be sold to the best advantage, and may remove such goods, animals and chattels or any of them or cause same to be removed from the place where same were seized to such place or places of sale.

(2) All goods, animals and other chattels taken in execution by any Under-Sheriff under any such writ or decree as aforesaid may pending the sale thereof be impounded, stored and kept by the Under-Sheriff in such place or places whether within or outside his bailiwick and whether within or outside the territorial boundaries of Saorstát Eireann as he shall think fit, and notwithstanding that such place or places is or are not appointed or authorized by law to be used as pounds.

(3) Wherever any goods, animals or other chattels shall be removed under this section by or by order of the Under-Sheriff to any place outside his bailiwick the Under-Sheriff shall in addition to the amount of the debt stated in the writ or decree under which such goods, animals and chattels were seized and of all charges leviable by law levy for the amount of all costs incurred by him—

(a) in or about the removal of such goods, animals and chattels from the places at which they were seized to every place (including the place of sale) to which such goods, animals and chattels are removed before the sale thereof;

(b) in or about the storing, impounding and preservation of such goods, animals and chattels (including the feeding and watering of such animals) between the time of seizure and the time of sale;

(c) in or about the sale and any attempted sale of such goods, animals or chattels other than a sale or attempted sale within the bailiwick of the Under-Sheriff.

All such costs and expenses as are mentioned in this sub-section may be deducted by the Under-Sheriff from the proceeds of the sale of the goods, animals and chattels as a first charge thereon.

(4) The Under-Sheriff shall be sole judge of the place or places at which any goods, animals or other chattels taken in execution by him can be sold to the best advantage and no action shall lie against any Under-Sheriff on account of his having sold any such goods, animals or chattels as aforesaid outside his bailiwick.

(5) In this section the expression “charges leviable by law” means charges leviable under any enactment, rule or order in force at the passing of this Act or under any provision of this Act other than this section.

Validity of purchases from Under Sheriff.

8. —Every person who after the passing of this Act shall in good faith purchase at a sale held by or under the authority of an Under-Sheriff any goods, animals or other chattels taken in execution by such Under-Sheriff shall acquire a good title valid against all persons to the goods, animals and chattels so purchased notwithstanding any invalidity or irregularity in or about the seizure or sale of such goods, animals or chattels, and whether he knows or ought or could have known or is affected with any kind of notice that the sale is a sale by or under the authority of an Under-Sheriff or not.

Interruption of Under-Sheriff's custody not to prejudice sale.

9. —The power and authority of an Under-Sheriff to sell any goods, animals or other chattels taken in execution by him shall not be prejudiced or affected by reason of such goods, animals or chattels having been out of the custody of the Under-Sheriff or his custody thereof having been by any means interrupted at any time or times between the time of the seizure and the time of the actual sale of such goods, animals or chattels.

No action to lie against Under-Sheriff for entering or breaking premises.

10. —No action shall lie against an Under-Sheriff for or on account of his having entered or broken into any lands, house, close or other premises for the purpose of taking into execution any goods, animals or other chattels which were or might be on or in such lands, house, close or premises, or for or on account of any injury occasioned to such lands, house or premises by or in the course of such entry or breaking in: Provided always that before breaking into any dwelling house or other building the Under-Sheriff shall have made reasonable efforts to enter peaceably and without violence: Provided however that in any case where the Under-Sheriff shall break and enter the premises of a person other than the person against whom he has been called upon to enforce a judgment, order or decree he shall either have found any goods, animals or other chattels of such last mentioned person therein or thereon or shall have reasonable grounds for believing that there were some such goods, animals or chattels therein or thereon.

Under-Sheriff not to be liable for seizing or selling in excess.

11. —From and after the passing of this Act and notwithstanding any enactment, rule of law or order to the contrary no action shall lie against and no penalty shall be incurred by any Under-Sheriff in the absence of fraud, malice or gross negligence for or on account of his having seized or sold under any writ of fieri facias or any decree of a Civil Bill Court more or less goods, animals or other chattels than would or might be sufficient to meet the full amount of the debt or sum of money and all costs, fees, charges and expenses leviable by law (including this Act) under or by virtue of such writ or decree.

Appointment of fees to be charged by or paid to Under-Sheriffs and others.

12. —(1) The Minister may by order appoint and from time to time revise a scale of the fees to be charged by and paid to Under-Sheriffs, Bailiffs and other persons for their services in or about the execution of writs of fieri facias and writs of habere and in or about the execution of decrees (whether for debt, possession of land or otherwise) of Civil Bill Courts.

(2) The fees specified in any scale of fees appointed under this section shall be in lieu of and substitution for the fees now by law chargeable by or payable to Under-Sheriffs, Bailiffs and other persons for the like service, and every enactment relating to the payment or recovery of the fees now chargeable or payable as aforesaid shall apply to the fees which shall respectively be substituted therefor by such scale as aforesaid as fully as same now applies to the fees now chargeable and payable as aforesaid.

(3) Every power which at the passing of this Act is vested in any person, body or authority to appoint or regulate the fees to be charged by or paid to Under-Sheriffs, Bailiffs and other persons shall be suspended and incapable of being exercised while this Act is in force.

(4) Every scale of fees appointed or revised by the Minister under this section shall be published in the Iris Oifigiúil and primâ facie evidence of every or any such scale may be given in all Courts of Justice and in all legal proceedings by the production of a copy of the Iris Oifigiúil purporting to contain such scale or by the production of a copy of such scale purporting to be printed under the superintendence or authority of the Stationery Office of the Government of Saorstát Eireann.

Places in which Quarter Sessions and Civil Bill Courts may be held.

13. —(1) Wherever the sessions of a Court of Quarter Sessions or of a Civil Bill Court for any division were pursuant to an order or purported order of the County Court Judge at any time after the 6th day of December, 1922, and before the passing of this Act held at any place other than the place at which or outside the county, division or other area in which such court was by any enactment, rule or order required to be held, the place in which such sessions were actually held shall be deemed to have been at the time of the holding of such sessions the place and within the county division or area at or in which such court was by such enactment, rule or order required to be held.

(2) From and after the passing of this Act the Sessions of the Court of Quarter Sessions and of the Civil Bill Court for any division of any County may in lieu of being held in a town in such division be held in the Courthouse in such other town in any other division of the same county as the County Court Judge shall with the approval of the Minister from time to time appoint.

(3) For the purpose of any enactment requiring the Courts of Quarter Sessions or the Civil Bill Courts to be held in any particular Courthouse or building or within any particular county division or other area the Courthouse appointed under this section for the holding of any Sessions of a Court of Quarter Sessions or of a Civil Bill Court shall be deemed to be the Courthouse or building and to be within the county division or other area in or within which such Court or Sessions is or are by such enactment required to be held.

(4) Primâ facie evidence of any order made by a County Court Judge under this section may be given in all Courts of Justice and all legal proceedings by the production of a copy thereof purporting to be certified to be true by the Registrar of the County Court Judge by whom the order was made, which copy the Registrar aforesaid shall be bound to furnish to any person on payment of the fee prescribed by the Minister, and it shall not be necessary to prove the signature of such Registrar or that he is in fact the Registrar of such County Court Judge.

(5) In this section the expression “County Court Judge” includes a Recorder or Judge of a Borough.

Service of civil bills and jurors summonses may be deemed good.

14. —(1) Any County Court Judge may deem any document to which this section applies to have been validly served notwithstanding that same was not served in the manner required by the law in force at the passing of this Act if the County Court Judge is satisfied—

(a) that it was not reasonably possible to effect service of such document in the manner required by the law aforesaid; and

(b) that such document or a copy thereof or reasonable notice of such document and of the contents thereof did in fact reach the person required to be served therewith.

(2) This section applies—

(a) to all civil bills, whether ordinary, title, equity or otherwise;

(b) to all documents summoning or requiring the attendance of grand jurors, special jurors or common jurors, whether for criminal or civil business at any Court of Quarter Sessions or Civil Bill Court.

(3) In this section the expression “County Court Judge” includes a Recorder and the Judge of a Borough.

Power to stay execution in certain cases.

15. —(1) Upon the hearing of any Civil Bill for debt or damages, if the County Court Judge before whom the proceedings are pending is satisfied that the defendant is unable to satisfy by an immediate payment in full the judgment and costs, and that such inability does not arise from his own conduct, act, or default, and that there is reasonable ground for granting an extension of time to pay, the County Court Judge may put a stay upon the execution of the judgment or decree of the Court, or upon the execution of the writ of fieri facias for such time as the County Court Judge thinks reasonable, and the County Court Judge may, if he thinks fit, order that the amount of such judgment or decree and the costs shall be paid by such instalments as the County Court Judge may appoint.

(2) If the County Court Judge is of opinion that the defendant can pay the first of such instalments forthwith, he shall so order. If default is made in complying with the order of the court for the payment of the first or any subsequent instalment, the stay upon the execution of the judgment or decree, or upon the execution of the writ of fieri facias shall be removed, and it may thereupon be executed forthwith.

(3) This section shall not apply to any judgment or decree given or pronounced before the passing of this Act.

(4) In this Section the expression “County Court Judge” includes a Recorder and the Judge of a Borough.

Short Title and duration.

16. —(1) This Act may be cited as the Enforcement of Law (Occasional Powers) Act, 1923.

(2) This Act shall come into force immediately on the passing thereof and shall continue in force for six months thereafter and shall then expire.