Judgments: Key cases in brief

The right of bankrupts to litigate had been vested in the official assignee. Bank of Ireland v O'Donnell, IESC 89, (Supreme Court, Denham CJ, December 8th, 2015) The Supreme Court refuses to grant leave to extend time to appeal an order of the High Court, where the proposed appellants had been adjudged bankrupt in the intervening period, on the grounds that the right of action in respect of their property rights had been vested in the official assignee in bankruptcy and the appellants had no personal locus standi.

Mark Tottenham BL

A serial sexual offender has his sentence affirmed but the period of suspension is increased. DPP v JP, IECA 266 (Court of Appeal, Mahon J, November 10th, 2015) The Court of Appeal, on appeal from the Circuit Court, varies sentence of 12 years' imprisonment by increasing the period of suspension from two years to three years, in respect of the offence of sexual assault which had been committed within hours of release from prison in respect of a previous sentence of six years for sexual assault, on the grounds that the sentence was appropriate but that the period of suspension should be increased to three years to facilitate rehabilitation.

Ciarán Joyce BL


Drugs offenders are refused release from prison where the declaration of constitutional invalidity did not render their detention unlawful. Murphy v the governor of Mountjoy, IECA 259 (Court of Appeal, Birmingham J, November 16th, 2015) The Court of Appeal dismisses an appeal from the High Court and affirms the refusal to release prisoners who were serving sentences for drugs possession, where the statutory provision under which they were convicted had subsequently been declared unconstitutional, on the grounds that previous Supreme Court authority had established that such a declaration did not render unlawful the detention of those already convicted under the relevant provision.

Ciarán Joyce

A retired employee is allowed to continue proceedings against his former employer despite a delay. Traynor v Guinness UDV Ireland, IEHC 732, (High Court, Barrett J, November 24th, 2015) The High Court refuses to strike out on the grounds of delay an action by a former employee who had accepted redundancy relying on certain assurances by his employer about his pension, on the grounds that the employer knew of the plaintiff's concerns by January 2003 and that the balance of justice favoured allowing the proceedings to continue.

Shane Kiely BL

Security for costs is granted in appeal of a High Court dismissal of alleged professional negligence of lawyers. Rayan Restaurant v Kean, IECA 264, (Court of Appeal, Irvine J, November 9th, 2014) The Court of Appeal orders directors of restaurant business to provide security for costs in an appeal of a High Court order striking out an action against their former solicitor and barrister for alleged professional negligence, on the grounds that they had not discharged the burden of establishing the existence of special circumstances which would deny the respondents the relief which they sought.

Ciarán Joyce

An adult with a personality disorder is to be returned from Britain to Ireland as a voluntary patient. Health Service Executive v KW, IEHC 741, (High Court, Noonan J, July 7th, 2015) The High Court, in the context of long-running care proceedings, sets aside a previous order of the High Court placing an adult patient suffering from a personality disorder under the care of a psychiatric hospital in the United Kingdom, and substitutes an order directing that the patient be returned to Ireland as a voluntary patient, having been satisfied that the court had the jurisdiction to make the relevant order.

Ian Fitzharris BL

Costs orders against a district judge in judicial review proceedings are set aside. Kilty v Judge Dunne, IESC 88, (Supreme Court, MacMenamin J, December 7th, 2015) The Supreme Court allows an appeal from the High Court and a), sets aside orders for costs made against a District Court judge in a judicial review of a decision to renew an auctioneer's licence, where the judge had been found to be objectively biased but had not participated in the proceedings or the application for costs, and b), remits the issue of costs to the High Court.

Mark Tottenham

The High Court lifts an "automatic" suspension order and allows the construction of a college campus to proceed. BAM PPP PGGM Infrastructure Co-operatie UA v National Treasury Management Agency, IEHC 756, (High Court, Barrett J, December 1st, 2015) The High Court grants an order to lift the suspension of a contract to build a university campus, which had been imposed as the consequence of judicial review proceedings in relation to the public procurement process, on the grounds that the relevant EU legislation did not require the imposition of an "automatic" suspension order.

Ian Fitzharris

These reports were prepared by Stare Decisis Hibernia StareDecisisHibernia.com. The full text of each judgment can be found on courts.ie