Judgments: Key cases in brief

The scales of justice on the roof of the Four Courts in Dublin

The scales of justice on the roof of the Four Courts in Dublin


CEO entitled to exercise majority voting rights so as to increase number of directors In re Blarney Woollen Mills Group; Hayes v Kelleher [2015]IEHC 509 (High Court, Barrett J, July 31st, 2015) The High Court inspects, considers and makes determinations in respect of a company’s shareholder agreement and related voting rights measures, owing to an impasse between the parties and determines that the plaintiff, as chief executive officer, was entitled to exercise her minimum 51 per cent voting rights at a general meeting of the company with a view to increasing the number of directors on the board.

– Ian Fitzharris BL

Parents had been independently advised prior to transfer of farm and home to son In re Lynn; Lynn v O’Hara [2015]IEHC 689 (High Court, O’Malley J, November 5th, 2015) The High Court dismisses actions brought by mother and estate of late father concerning transfer of farm and lands to son, where the son had died following the transfer, on the grounds that they had been independently advised by a solicitor and accountant and understood the implications of the transfer, such that claims of duress, undue influence and improvident transaction were not established on the evidence.

– Mark Tottenham BL

Alleged conflict of interest on part of bank official did not release borrower from debt AIB PLC v Flanagan [2015]IEHC 632 (High Court, Hedigan J, October 16th, 2015) The High Court grants summary judgment to a bank against a borrower in the sum of €7.2 million, on the grounds: a) alleged conflict of interest on the part of a bank official did not release the borrower from the debt; b) allegations of duress on the part of the bank were not credible; and c) no reference was made in correspondence to an offer by the bank for the debts to be “permanently parked”.

– Mark Tottenham BL

Trial to proceed despite CCTV footage not available Sirbu v DPP [2015]IECA 238 (Court of Appeal, Hogan J, November 9th, 2015) The Court of Appeal allows an appeal from the High Court, and sets aside order restraining the prosecution of the applicant where relevant CCTV footage had been overridden by subsequent coverage after gardaí viewed it, finding that any potential unfairness to the applicant was capable of being addressed by rulings at the trial. – Ciaran Joyce BL

Insurer for solicitors could not be joined as co-defendant in negligence action Kennedy v Casey [2015]IEHC 690 (High Court, Kearns P, November 6th, 2015) High Court refuses an application by fishermen to join an insurer as co-defendant to a professional negligence claim against their former solicitors, where the solicitors had allegedly delayed in pursuing a claim against the state for compensation arising from a ban on fishing for tuna with driftnets, on the grounds that: a) the fishermen had no locus standi to bring a claim against the insurer; b) the application was premature, in that the claim against the state for compensation had not been determined; and c) the insurer had not been estopped by delay from coming off record in the proceedings against the solicitors. – Mark Tottenham BL

Doctor was 50 per cent partner in medical practice and entitled to share of monies Mughal v Sher [2015]IEHC 675 (High Court, Murphy J, October 27th, 2015) High Court: a) grants a declaration that a doctor was a 50 per cent partner in a medical practice – the other doctor claimed the plaintiff was an employee; b) grants that the plaintiff was entitled to 46.4 per cent of monies due from the HSE; and c) grants in injunction restraining the defendant from receiving any HSE monies without the knowledge of the plaintiff. – James Cross BL

Order to pay €350,000 to ex-wife is deleted where husband in debt M O’B vs B O’B [2012]IEHC 621 (High Court, Abbott J, January 20th, 2012) The High Court: a) grants order modifying a decree of divorce made in December 2008, and deletes a requirement that the husband pay a lump sum to his wife of €350,000, on grounds that he had become indebted since the order; but b) makes order for costs against the husband where he had attempted to frustrate the payment of costs to the wife’s solicitors and had tried to hide assets from the court. – Shane Kiely BL

Receiver of company bound by notice terms in employment contract Brennan v Irish Pride Bakeries [2015]IEHC 665 (High Court, Gilligan J, October 22nd, 2015) The High Court grants interlocutory injunction restraining a company in receivership from terminating a employee’s contract by a two-week notice of redundancy given to him by the receiver, on grounds that the plaintiff was entitled to a three-month notice period as per his contract of employment. – Shane Kiely BL

Nothing oppressive about interrogatories sought to be delivered by defendant McCabe v Irish Life Assurance [2015]IECA 239 (Court of Appeal, Kelly J, November 9th, 2015) The Court of Appeal allows an appeal from the High Court, and grants order for the delivery of interrogatories regarding the alleged non-disclosure of material facts concerning a life assurance policy, on grounds that there was no evidence to suggest that there was anything unfair or oppressive in the content of the interrogatories which were sought to be delivered by the defendant.

– Ciaran Joyce BL

These reports were written by Stare Decisis Hibernia StareDecisisHibernia.com. The full text of each judgment is available oncourts.ie.