Key cases in brief


Labour Court misapplied fixed-term employment legislation Board of Management of St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys v Grehan [2015]IEHC 605 (High Court, Noonan J, October 6th, 2015) The High Court, by way of appeal on a point of law, determines that the Labour Court had misconstrued – and therefore potentially misapplied – provisions of a fixed-term employment statute pertaining to a teacher’s entitlement to a contract of indefinite duration.

This was following his completion of several prior temporary appointments at a primary school for deaf children, and remits the matter to the Labour Court for a fresh re-hearing.

– Ian Fitzharris BL

Proposed mediation was artificial and sought for the purpose of a costs advantage Atlantic Shellfish Ltd v Cork County Council [2015]IEHC 570 (High Court, Gilligan J, April 17th, 2015) The High Court refuses to adjourn proceedings in order to facilitate mediation in substantive complex proceedings claiming damages in contract and tort law arising from loses to the plaintiffs’ oyster fisheries business from untreated sewage in the defendant’s harbor.

The court finds that the application is artificial as: (1) the plaintiffs already know that the first defendant did not believe the proceedings, by their very complex nature, could be mediated; and (2) the plaintiffs were seeking to gain a costs advantage by applying for a court order at that stage of the proceedings.

– Ian Fitzharris BL

Oral hearing required at asylum appeal AK v Minister for Justice [2015]IEHC 599 (High Court, Mac Eochaidh J, July 31st, 2015) The High Court grants judicial review of a finding by the Refugee Applications Commissioner that an appeal of a refusal of refugee status to a Ghanaian national should be on the papers without oral hearing, on the grounds that the only way the appellant could overturn negative credibility findings based on his demeanour was to have access to an oral hearing.

– James Cross BL

Mediation in personal injuries action would only add to costs and delays Ryan v Walls Construction [2015]IECA 214 (Court of Appeal, Kelly J, October 6th, 2015) The Court of Appeal allows appeal from the High Court, and sets aside order compelling parties to attend a mediation conference in relation to a personal injuries action, finding that there had been no realistic attempt at settlement on a face-to-face basis, where the discovery process has been completed in its entirety, where the case was on the threshold of a hearing, and where the making of an order for mediation against an unwilling party at such a late stage in the proceedings was only likely to contribute to further expense and delay.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

Company granted injunction preventing holding of emergency general meeting by shareholders Petroceltic International PLC v Worldview Capital Management SA [2015]IEHC 612 (High Court, Abbott J, October 1st, 2015) High Court grants an injunction on the application of a public limited company to restrain shareholders from holding a fourth emergency general meeting in one calendar year, on the grounds that the proposed resolutions were likely to obstruct the business of the company and that damages would not be an adequate remedy.

– Shane Kiely BL

Order to restrain deforestation would be futile where wind farm had been operational for nine years Derrybrien Development Society Ltd v Saorgus Energy Ltd [2015]IESC 77 (Supreme Court, Denham CJ, October 16th, 2015) The Supreme Court dismisses appeal from the High Court, and affirms 2005 refusal of injunction to restrain deforestation of land in preparation for wind farm, where a massive landslide had occurred in 2003.

The grounds were that the wind farm had been operational since 2006 and an order to restrain deforestation would be futile in the circumstances.

– Mark Tottenham BL

Warrant failed to record the decision of the DPP to proceed by way of summary trial Freeman v Governor of Wheatfield Prison [2015]IEHC 615 (High Court, Noonan J, October 9th, 2015) High Court orders the release of a minor applicant who challenged the legality of his detention on foot of a conviction in the Children’s Court, finding that the failure to record on the warrant the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to proceed by way of summary trial was a fatal flaw which rendered the warrant bad on its face.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

These reports were prepared by Stare Decisis Hibernia staredecisishibernia.com. The full text of each judgment is available on courts.ie