Wednesday, 25 April 2012 16:21
The wife of businessman Sean Quinn claimed recently in the Commercial Court that she was under the undue influence of her husband when she signed up for a personal loan from the former Anglo Irish Bank, back in 2006.
In her defence, Patricia Quinn claimed that she did not understand what she had signed up to, that she had no day to day business dealings and that she was a homemaker and not a businesswoman. It was on these grounds that she claimed she was not liable for the repayment of this personal loan, which was in excess of €3 million.
Mr Justice Kelly in response, had no time for the “startling proposition” that Patricia Quinn, a director of over 80 companies in Ireland and beyond, and a company secretary of 10, could be the “cats paw” of her husband and was “clueless” about her role as director.
Mr Justice Kelly found no evidence of undue influence by her husband Sean Quinn and said there had been no presumption of undue influence in a court of law, between a husband and wife since 1750! It really would be a peculiar state of affairs if every wife in Ireland was presumed to be under the undue influence of her husband!
Furthermore, he stated that Patricia Quinn “gave no thought to what she was signing” and she could not now come before the court and claim that she did not understand what she had signed. “What could be more negligent than willy-nilly signing of legal documents without any thought to their nature and effect?”
The law demands personal responsibility and has heralded women’s autonomy and free will since the 18th century. There are no excuses. Read the fine print and inform yourself. The courts will make short shrift of a spouse claiming undue influence except in the most exceptional of cases. If you feel pressurized into entering into a transaction or feel you would benefit from independent legal advice, contact Irwin Solicitors. Irwin Solicitors have extensive experience dealing with a breadth of family law matters.
Published in Blog