Court refuses TDs permission to join Hall legal action
The Supreme Court has refused to permit five TDs – Clare Daly, Luke Flanagan, Mick Wallace, Joan Collins and Catherine Murphy – to be joined to businessman David Hall’s appeal against a High Court decision that he does not have the legal standing to challenge the Government’s payment of promissory notes.
The ruling does not prevent the TDs either bringing their challenge in the High Court to the payments or, if Mr Hall wins his appeal, seeking to join his main action when it returns to the court.
The central ground of Mr Hall’s case is that, under the Constitution, the Dáil must authorise the State’s financial expenditure but it never voted in favour of the promissory notes. Notes of some €31 billion were issued in favour of the former Anglo Irish Bank and other financial institutions and another €25 million payment in favour of the EBS is due in June.
No Dáil vote
The State accepts there was no Dáil vote but denies the specific mandate of the Dáil was required. It claims the notes could be lawfully issued under section 6 of of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008, but Mr Hall claims, if that is so, section 6 is unconstitutional.
President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns previously ruled only a TD could challenge the notes. Mr Hall has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court and is seeking an urgent hearing.
The TDs sought to be joined to that Supreme Court appeal to support Mr Hall’s claim that he, as a citizen and taxpayer, does have the necessary standing to challenge the notes. If they were joined and he lost his appeal, it was indicated they would continue his case in the High Court and they argued that was the most efficient and economic way for the matter to proceed.
Yesterday, the three-judge Supreme Court, comprising Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie and Mr Justice John MacMenamin, found no basis for the TDs to be joined to the appeal.
‘Honest and genuine’
Mr Justice Fennelly said it was not disputed the TDs have an “honest and genuine” interest in the key issue at the heart of the litigation. Their application was essentially very simple: Mr Hall had lost in the High Court because he was not a TD and the joining of five TDs to his case could solve the problem of Mr Hall’s legal standing.
Another equally simple answer was the TDs could have sought to join the case in the High Court but they had not, he said.
The TDs wanted to support Mr Hall’s claim he has the necessary standing but Mr Hall himself could make that case, which involved an issue of law and the addition of the TDs would add nothing to the strength of the legal arguments, he said.