Judge dismisses businessman’s IBRC claim due to delay

Former SIAC chief Finn Lyden brought case over 2006 Anglo Irish investment

The High Court has dismissed a damages claim brought against Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC) by businessman and former SIAC Construction chief executive Finn Lyden.

Mr Lyden brought proceedings arising out of a 2006 investment made by him in a fund promoted by Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Ltd, which subsequently became IBRC, together with a loan agreement. Mr Lyden repaid the loan in 2008 and the bank continued to hold the investment on his behalf. In 2012, Mr Lyden's lawyers issued proceedings on his behalf against IBRC seeking a declaration that the contract in respect of the investment was null and void. He also sought orders for repayment of all payments made by him in respect of the contract. He further sought damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation and negligent mis-statement.

IBRC sought to have the claim struck out on grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay in progressing it. It claimed, due to the delay, it would be greatly prejudiced if the matter went to trial.

Related claim

Lawyers for Mr Lyden opposed IBRC's application on grounds including that he was awaiting the outcome of a related claim brought by another individual, Seán O'Driscoll. In her judgment dismissing the action, Ms Justice Caroline Costello said the delay was inordinate. The plenary summons issued in December 2012 and a statement of claim had not been delivered until October 2017.


While Mr Lyden had said he was awaiting the outcome of other litigation, she did not accept the delay was legitimately attributable to the other case. She held the balance of justice favoured dismissing the action. IBRC would suffer prejudice because oral evidence would be required after a very significant lapse of time and some 12 years had passed since the key events the subject of the action, she said.

Had the trial taken place six or seven years earlier, which would have been possible if the plaintiff had acted with reasonable expedition, it was more likely a trial judge would have been able to make a fair and accurate assessment of the defendant’s witnesses as to fact, she said. The plaintiff was solely responsible for the delay, she also said.