Lunney abduction accused challenges time limits for judicial review proceedings

Man previously tried to challenge Special Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to hear his trial

One of the men accused of abducting and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney has launched a High Court challenge over time limits imposed on applicants seeking to bring judicial review proceedings. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

One of the men accused of abducting and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney has launched a High Court challenge over time limits imposed on applicants seeking to bring judicial review proceedings. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

One of the men accused of abducting and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney has launched a High Court challenge over time limits imposed on applicants seeking to bring judicial review proceedings.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, previously brought judicial review proceedings challenging the Special Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to hear his trial.

He claimed the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision that he should not be tried before a jury represented a significant curtailment of his constitutional rights.

In a judgement earlier this year, the High Court dismissed his application after ruling that he was out of time as his action had been brought outside the three-month time period allowed.

The man, represented by Michael O’Higgins SC instructed by solicitor John Quinn, has launched new judicial review proceedings where he claims the time limits regarding the bringing of such proceedings are unconstitutional.

The three-month time period, he claims, was introduced by way of statutory instrument by the Superior Courts Rules Committee, which under the 1936 Courts of Justice Act is tasked with making, annulling or altering rules of court.

The committee makes the rules regarding all procedures in civil and criminal cases in the State. It is comprised of the Chief Justice, the presidents of the Court of Appeal and High Court, several judges from those courts, solicitors, barristers and senior officials from the Courts Service.

Limits access

He claims that the three-month limit impermissibly reduces citizen’s access to the courts by way of delegated legislation. The enactment of a time limit amounts to the enactment of substantive law by a rule making committee, which he claims is something that is exclusively reserved for the Oireachtas.

The making of the time limit by the committee, he submits also amounts to a breach of the separation of powers.

He claims his challenge against the Special Criminal Court was denied due to temporal limitations by rules of court not enacted by the Oireactas.

In judicial review proceedings against the Superior Courts Rules Committee, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General, the man seeks various declarations from the court, including that the rule regarding the time limit is unconstitutional.

He also seeks a declaration that the Rules of the Superior Courts imposing time limits for the initiation of proceedings to seek leave to make an application for judicial review are outside the powers of the Superior Rules Committee.

He further seeks a declaration that the Constitution does not permit the Committee to impose time limits, and that there is nothing in various Acts of the Oireachtas indicating that there is a time limit on anyone who wishes to bring an application for judicial review.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan. The judge, on an ex-parte basis, directed that the application be heard on notice to the respondents.

The matter will return before the courts in October.