The “reasonable living accommodation needs” of the borrower
The purpose of this particular term of the Abhaile criteria is to exclude borrowers who may wish to retain what might be categorised as “trophy homes”. Section 23 of the 2012 Act requires the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) to publish guidelines as to the reasonable living expenses (RLEs) of debtors who wish to enter personal insolvency solutions (including PIAs). These include guidelines as to calculating the reasonable living accommodation needs. The guidelines are available on the ISI website.
A decision maker is not expected to carry out a calculation of these needs in the same way a PIP would, however where a person’s accommodation costs clearly appear excessive to their family size this may constitute grounds for deciding that the person does not meet the criteria for being granted legal aid without reference to their financial resources under Regulation 13(10).