Judge bemoans rash of ‘strikingly similar’ court cases by lay litigants that make ‘absolutely no sense’

Judgments have concluded this sort of claim is frivolous, vexatious, bound to fail and an abuse of process

A High Court judge has bemoaned a “rash” of “strikingly similar” court cases brought by lay litigants that “make absolutely no sense” legally.

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore said the actions brought increasingly in recent years claim a plaintiff is protected, under the Constitution and the Treaty of Europe, from all court summonses and orders.

A number of recent judgments have concluded this sort of claim is frivolous, vexatious, bound to fail and an abuse of process, he said.

The judge regretted that people peddling this form of case to litigants without professional legal representation have “not yet themselves been made accountable for the pointless legal costs and expense which their activities have generated”.


He endorsed the sentiment expressed in another High Court judgment by Ms Justice Eileen Roberts, who said “so much court and judicial time has been taken up dealing with what are essentially the same legal arguments advanced by parties over and over again, even though not a single case has been, or indeed could be, successful on these points”.

Mr Justice O’Moore previously dismissed an “incoherent” claim of this nature brought by horse trainer Anthony Mullins, of Watree Stud, Gowran, Co Kilkenny, against debt firm Everyday Finance DAC and a receiver. The claims against the State defendants remained.

Mr Mullins wanted €5 million damages and a declaration his constitutional rights have been denied due to him being the “victim” of a court order, the judge said. The action was struck out against Everday and the receiver as frivolous and vexatious and as not disclosing any cause of action.

The ill-effects of a pressurised court system is felt predominantly by other litigants, including individuals and businesses, who have to wait lengthy periods for their cases to be heard, Mr Justice O’Moore noted in his latest judgment in a case advancing similar claims.

In this recent ruling he dismissed Richard O’Hara’s action against debt firm Start Mortgages Designated Activity Company. Mr O’Hara, of Jackstown, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, sought damages of €2 million and a declaration his constitutional rights have been denied.

Mr O’Hara’s case remains against Ireland, the Attorney General, the Minister for Justice and Equality, and a named individual.

Start Mortgage’s strikeout motion was grounded on an affidavit of its solicitor, who said Mr O’Hara’s case was a “retaliatory attack” against her client for the purpose of causing embarrassment to the company.

The judge said Mr O’Hara responded by making “completely groundless allegations” claiming the solicitor was guilty of “perjury” and “treason”.

Mr Justice O’Moore said the case against Start Mortgages was an abuse of process and failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is High Court Reporter with The Irish Times