Businessman makes promissory note appeal

Fri, Mar 1, 2013, 00:00

The Minister for Finance continues to have “unlimited powers” to spend public monies in support of financial institutions “without any reference to the Dáil”, businessman David Hall told the Supreme Court yesterday.

That is one of the reasons he wants an urgent hearing of his appeal against the High Court’s decision that he does not have legal standing to challenge the promissory note payments, under which €31 billion has been paid out to date, Ross Maguire SC said.

A further payment of €25 million due in June was another reason the matter was urgent, he said.

Priority hearing

Mr Maguire applied yesterday for a priority hearing of the appeal. The application was resisted by Michael McDowell SC, for the State. The matter was not urgent, Mr McDowell argued, on grounds including that, since Mr Hall’s case was initiated, all the “really major” financial commitments had been transformed into long-term bonds.

The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, said the Supreme Court’s list was “heavily burdened” and she would not grant the matter priority “at this point” but would try and give it a hearing date in the next law term. She also made directions for exchange of legal documents in the case.

Earlier, Mr Maguire said both the High and Supreme Courts had recognised the importance of the issues in the case related to Section 6 of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008. The State has claimed the promissory note payments could be made under that provision, an assertion Mr Hall disputes.

Challenge the executive

Mr Maguire also said the High Court decision that Mr Hall had no legal standing to challenge the payments raised very important issues in the context of a citizen’s right to come to court and challenge acts of the executive.

Mr McDowell said developments in relation to the promissory notes meant there would be no impact whether or not a citizen had a right to litigate such payments. Five TDs had lost their bid to be joined to this case but there was nothing stopping them bringing their own case, he said.

Mr Maguire said Mr Hall had no say on the issue whether or not a TD brought a case. The TDs may be waiting to see if Mr Hall’s appeal secures priority, he added.