Judgments: Key cases in brief

A certificate is required to appeal a costs order to Supreme Court. Rowan vs Kerry County Council, IESC 99 (Supreme Court, Dunne J, McKechnie J, December 18th, 2015) The Supreme Court dismisses an appeal from the High Court and affirms a decision to award costs against an applicant in an unsuccessful judicial review of planning decision, on the grounds that no certificate had been granted that the decision concerned a point of law of exceptional public importance and that previous case law on the issue had not been altered, amended or varied by subsequent legislation.

Mark Tottenham BL

An order for sale on foot of a judgment mortgage is set aside on appeal. ACC Bank plc vs Lynn, IESC 100 (Supreme Court, Charleton J, December 21st, 2015) The Supreme Court allows an appeal from the High Court and sets aside a 2005 order for sale where the plaintiff held a judgment mortgage over the interest of one joint tenant of registered freehold land, where subsequent High Court case law had established that an order for sale should not be granted in such circumstances, on the grounds that the Supreme Court had a discretion to consider a new point of law on appeal and that an injustice would be done to the defendant if the High Court order was affirmed.

Mark Tottenham


A government agency gave a written assurance that it would lease a property if it was purchased. Ryan vs FÁS IEHC 777 (High Court, Murphy J, November 30th, 2015) The High Court awards damages of €894,000 to persons who purchased and developed property in reliance on correspondence from a government agency that it would lease the property for a term of 20 years, but subsequently failed to take out a lease.

Shane Kiely BL

A sentence for an unprovoked "glassing" was unduly lenient. DPP vs O'Callaghan, IECA 291 (Court of Appeal, Mahon J, December 11th, 2015) The Court of Appeal, on the application of the Director of Public Prosecutions, grants a review of a two-year suspended sentence imposed for an unprovoked assault using a glass on an unsuspecting victim, resulting in a very serious injury, and substitutes a sentence of 18 months imprisonment, with the final 15 months suspended, on grounds that an offence of the sort required a custodial sentence save in exceptional circumstances.

The State is bound by a pension agreement made with a third-level institution

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform vs the Pensions Ombudsman, IEHC 792 (High Court, Baker J, November 27th, 2015) The High Court dismisses an appeal from a decision of the Pensions Ombudsman that an employee of a third-level institution was entitled to have a full pension when he retired at the age of 60, on foot of an agreement with his employer that he would receive the same pension as if he had worked until he was 65, but where the State had subsequently taken over the pension arrangements, on grounds that the employee had not retired “early” and the ombudsman had not made any serious or significant error in his determination.

Shane Kiely

A nightclub is not liable for injuries suffered in a fall from the shoulders of another patron. Fitzsimons vs Templeville Developments Ltd, IEHC 784 (High Court, White J, December 11th, 2015) The High Court dismisses a personal injuries claim against a defendant nightclub arising from a fall from the shoulders of another patron on the premises, finding the security system in place on the night was adequate and it would be inappropriate in assessing the nightclub's duty of care to expect its security personnel to have anticipated the negligent actions of a third party.

Ian Fitzharris BL

A judge was entitled to give an explanation to a jury as to why certain evidence was inadmissible. DPP vs DM, IECA 295 (Court of Appeal, Sheehan J, July 16th, 2015) The Court of Appeal dismisses an appeal of sexual assault convictions, where the trial judge had refused to discharge the jury following the introduction of remarks attributed to the appellant's brother by the complainant in the course of her evidence, in chief that "he wanted to ring the guards" and, where the judge had given an explanation to the jury as to why they were not allowed to hear certain evidence, on the grounds that he had correctly exercised his discretion in each instance.

Ciarán Joyce

A special needs school failed to reasonably accommodate an employee to return to work after a serious injury. Nano Nagle School vs Daly, IEHC 785 (High Court, Noonan J, December 11th, 2015) The High Court dismisses an appeal on a point of law from a decision of the Labour Court brought by a special needs school which had effectively dismissed a special needs assistant after she suffered – but had since recovered and rehabilitated from – a serious spinal injury, finding no error of law in regard to the Labour Court's consideration of the legislative requirement for the school to "reasonably accommodate" her.

Ciarán Joyce These reports are prepared by the online research service Stare Decisis Hibernia StareDecisisHibernia.com. The full text of each judgment is published by the Courts Service on courts.ie