Ryanair goes to court over conduct of social welfare appeal

Airline claims it was refused leave by appeals commissioner to cross examine witnesses

Ryanair has gone to court over the conduct of a social welfare appeal concerning the employment status of a pilot for purposes of insurability.

Ryanair has gone to court over the conduct of a social welfare appeal concerning the employment status of a pilot for purposes of insurability.

 

Ryanair has gone to the High Court over the conduct of a social welfare appeal concerning the employment status of a pilot for purposes of insurability.

Ryanair claims it was refused leave by an appeals commissioner to cross examine witnesses in the long-running case involving a pilot, Paul Clements, concerning his employment status for purposes of insurability.

Ryanair, represented by Martin Hayden SC, with Eoin O’Shea, claims Mr Clements is a director and shareholder of Redsberry Management Services which contracted with another company to provide the services of Mr Clements to Ryanair over a four-year period to 2014.

Benefits

The Department of Social Protection had in 2015 determined Mr Clements was insurable as an employee of Redsberry under PRSI Class A for benefits and pensions under the Social Welfare Acts during the four-year period.

Mr Clements appealed that decision and contended he was an employee of Ryanair but, in a 2016 decision, the appeals officer agreed with the Department’s decision.

Redsberry then brought an appeal claiming Mr Clements was self employed.

An oral hearing began in 2017 and had been adjourned a number of times.

When last adjourned Mr Clements was still under cross examination by Ryanair.

In a written decision on March 6th last, the appeals commissioner refused Ryanair liberty to cross-examine certain witnesses but said it could continue cross examination of Mr Clements.

Ryanair claims it was also refused liberty to present its own evidence or to give submissions.

The airline’s judicial review challenge has been brought against the chief appeals officer and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Mr Clements and Redsberry are notice parties.

In its proceedings, Ryanair wants to set aside the March 6th order refusing Ryanair leave to cross-examine witnesses called on behalf of the pilot and Redsberry.

Submissions

Ryanair claims it was also refused leave to introduce witness evidence in support of its case, to make submissions and to cross examine expert accounting witnesses.

It seeks orders permitting it to cross-examine witnesses and make submissions and a declaration the disputed decision of the appeals officer breached its rights to fair procedures.

When the ex parte application for leave for judicial review came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday, he said it should be made on notice to all sides.

He granted Ryanair a stay on the appeal hearing with liberty, on 72 hours notice, to apply to lift the stay.

The case will come back before the court in July.