Judgment: Key cases in brief

Sentence increased for man who seriously assaulted his fiancée DPP v. McMenamy [2014]IECA 47 (Court of Appeal, Ryan P, December 18th, 2014) Court of Appeal, on the application of the Director of Public Prosecutions, allows appeal of sentence of six years with two years suspended imposed for the offence of assault causing harm to the offender's fiancée finding that in view of the serious aggravating features – such as previous convictions for similar offences and callous disregard for the health of the injured party in the aftermath of the attack – the sentence was unduly lenient, and substitutes a sentence of 10 years with two years suspended.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

Contract claim allowed to proceed despite inordinate and inexcusable delay Granahan v. Mercury Engineering [2015]IECA 58 (Court of Appeal, Irvine J, March 12th, 2015) Court of Appeal allows appeal of decision to dismiss plaintiff's claim – concerning the supply of painting and labouring services to the defendant – due to delay, finding that while there was inordinate and inexcusable delay, the balance of justice favoured allowing the claim proceed and to do so would not cause significant prejudice to the defendant.

– Ciarán Joyce BL


Occupant of property had not established possessory title Dooley v Flaherty [2014]IEHC 528 (High Court, Hogan J, November 18th, 2014) High Court grants declaration that purchasers were entitled to vacant possession of property, and that an occupant, who was the nephew of a former life tenant of the property, had not established title by way of adverse possession, as the owners had carried out repairs to the roof during the relevant twelve-years period, which was a sufficient "act of possession" to defeat the occupant's claim.

– Ian Fitzharris BL

Trial judge's examination of witnesses did not interfere with right to fair trial DPP v. Heaphy [2015]IECA 61 (Court of Appeal, Sheehan J, March 16th, 2015) Court of Appeal dismisses appeal from conviction for assault in the Circuit Court, finding that: 1) the trial judge's examination of witnesses and interventions did not interfere with the appellant's defence or his right to a fair trial; and 2) the trial judge's remark that perhaps the victim's jacket was the reason why the victim had not sustained any apparent injuries did not render the verdict unsafe.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

Contracts not automatically void despite being in breach of company law Quinn v. Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd [2015]IESC 29 (Supreme Court, Clarke J, March 27th, 2015) Supreme Court allows appeal from High Court and determines, by way of preliminary issue, that certain contracts were potentially enforceable, notwithstanding that they were allegedly made in breach of market abuse regulations and relevant company law legislation that precluded companies buying their own shares.

– Mark Tottenham BL

Removal of priest from role of chaplain in school is not amenable to judicial review Conroy v. Board of Management of Gorey Community School [2015]IEHC 103 (High Court, Baker J, January 23rd, 2015) High Court: a) refuses judicial review of decision of a school to remove a priest as chaplain, on the grounds that there was no public law element in the appointment and dismissal of a chaplain; and b) refuses judicial review of the decision to impose certain conditions on his role as a teacher of religion, on the grounds that, although the decision was amenable to judicial review, there had been no denial of his right to fair procedures. – Shane Kiely BL

Garnishee was on notice of solicitors' right to be paid in respect of taxed costs Galway City Council v. QDM Capital Ltd [2015]IEHC 171 (High Court, O'Malley J, March 10th, 2015) High Court: a) grants an order that solicitors were entitled to a charge on taxed costs in proceedings in which they acted for a company; and b) determines that the solicitors' charge took precedence over a debt by the company to a local authority that had obtained an ex parte garnishee order over the taxed costs (arising from a separate order for costs), on grounds that the local authority had been on notice of the solicitors' entitlement to be paid, and that no injustice arose.

– Mark Tottenham BL

Order granted for specific performance of option to purchase shares Danbywiske v. Donegal Investment Group Plc [2015]IEHC 126 (High Court, McGovern J, January 16th, 2015) High Court grants plaintiff an order for specific performance of an option granted to it by the defendant in written Heads of Agreement to purchase 5 per cent of the defendant's shareholding in a company called ESLT, and dismisses the defendant's counterclaim for €807,000 in respect of dividends which should have been declared. – Damian Byrne BL

Claim by motorist against insurance company was fraudulent Berry v. Quinn Insurance Ltd [2015]IEHC 173 (High Court, Keane J, March 10th, 2015) High Court refuses claim by motorist against insurer for failing to honour an insurance policy following an accident, on the grounds that the evidence established that the jeep in which he claimed to have been travelling was stationary at the time it was hit by a stolen truck, leading to the conclusion that the claim must have been fraudulent. – Mark Tottenham BL

The full text of each judgment can be found on courts.ie. These reports are provided by Stare Decisis Hibernia: staredecisishibernia.com.