New Appeal: Can the High Court appoint a receiver in equity over salary payments?

In this determination, ACC Loan Management v Rickard, the Supreme Court granted Rickard leave to appeal to question “the ambit of power of a Receiver by way of equitable execution over both equitable and legal interests”.



In 2011, on application from ACC, the High Court held that payments made under the Single Payment Scheme were not legally due but were payments which may become legally due in the future. As they were therefore not accessible under the legal process, Kelly J appointed a receiver in equity over future payments due to Rickard, for ACC’s benefit.

In 2015 the Department of Agriculture wrote to ACC to advise that the Single Payment Scheme was being replaced by the Basic Payment Scheme and an application to court was required to amend the ambit of the Receiver’s appointment, to continue in receipt of Rickard’s payments. ACC applied and the High Court granted the amendment.

Rickard appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal citing Flanagan v Crosby [2014] IEHC 59; [2014] 1 IR 576, where Hogan J held that he was constrained by law from appointing a receiver by way of equitable execution over salary payments. The Court of Appeal dismissed Rickard’s appeal citing MacLaine Watson & Company v ITC [1988] Ch 1. The Supreme Court summarised their findings as:

  • it is not part of the law that receivers could only be appointed over assets which were held on an equitable interest;
  • under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1877, there is no reason in principle why a receiver cannot be appointed over legal interests;
  • payments under the Basic Payment Scheme should not be equated with salaries; and,
  • there was no reason why the court should not appoint a receiver by way of equitable execution over future receipts from a defined asset.


Rickard applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal. Granting leave, the Court stated:

11. While the respondent contends that the question raised is a narrow issue of private contract only, the Court is of the view that, in fact, the issue which is raised here does involve a matter of wider and general public importance, that is to say, the proper identification of the law in the light of the fact that the question determined by the Court of Appeal had reversed prior authority on the question. While that is not, in itself, a matter of general public importance, the Court is of the view that the issues which are raised is the ambit of power of a Receiver by way of equitable execution over both equitable and legal interests is, in fact, a matter of general public importance which transcends the facts of this case, and requires determination. Further, the issue raised issues as to whether payments made under the Basic Payment Scheme, which is available to farmers, are in the nature of a salary. The decision of the Court of Appeal both reconsidered and distinguished principles which were established in the 19th and 20th Century.



Supreme Court refuses leave to appeal against Circuit Court injunction against entry of unrated property

In this determination, Costello v Carney, the Supreme Court refused Carney’s application for leave to appeal from the High Court’s affirmation of the Circuit Court injunction against him entering a mortgaged property.

Following its recent decision in Permanent TSB v Langan, the Court rejected Carney’s argument that the Circuit Court does not have jurisdiction over unrated properties.

Rowan v Kerry Co Co: Supreme Court has some discretion to refuse leave to appeal even where there is an important issue of law

In Rowan v Kerry County Council the Supreme Court clarified that:

The effect of the 33rd Amendment is to grant the Supreme Court jurisdiction in appeals meeting the constitutional threshold, but there remains a residual question of whether it is appropriate to exercise that jurisdiction in any case. The amendment limits those cases which may be appealed to this Court: it does not compel the Court to exercise the jurisdiction in every case which satisfies the test appeal.



In 2012 the High Court rejected Rowan’s application for judicial review of a planning decision and made an order for costs against him. Rowan did not apply to the High Court for a certificate to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, as would have been required by s 50 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

In Grace & Sweetman v An Bord Pleanála the Supreme Court determined that the 33rd Amendment to the Constitution removed the Óireachtas’s power to restrict appeals from the High Court to the Supreme Court.

In 2017 Rowan applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the 2012 High Court decision, arguing that the 33rd Amendment had retrospective effect. The Court refused to extend time for leave to appeal but determined that Rowan had raised an issue of public importance: the extent to which the 33rd Amendment can act retrospectively.

Dunne J (here) wrote the judgment for the unanimous five judge panel. She held that in the absence of a certificate for leave to appeal from the High Court the proceedings were at an end and could not be “resurrected by the happenstance of a constitutional amendment”.

In a concurring judgment (here), O’Donnell J addressed another issue which arose, which the Court had not clarified before: whether the Court has discretion to refuse leave to appeal where an appellant has otherwise met the constitutional threshold. Finding that the Court does have some discretion, he presented an example:

A mundane example may arise where in a particular case it is apparent that there may be an important issue of law, but it is neither clearly presented nor precisely identified so as to permit to the Court to have a clear hearing and determination of the issue. In such a case, it may be that the Court would decline to grant leave.

Leopardstown Club v Templeville Developments: Court of Appeal exceeded its jurisdiction in overturning High Court’s finding of fact

Here, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal in this case and affirmed the judgment of the High Court (Charleton J). Answering the questions certified, the Court held:

(i) First, in essence, did the Court of Appeal exceed its jurisdiction by misapplying Hay v O’Grady? I would answer this in the affirmative, for the reasons given.

(ii) Second, the issue of misrepresentation and the application of the correct law. The Court was not asked to overrule Gahan v Boland. Once there was evidence to support the learned High Court judge’s finding, as to the credibility of Mr Smyth, this was a finding of primary fact which should not be set aside by an appellate court as it was supported by credible evidence. Further aspects of the law on misrepresentation did not arise.



In 1998 Leopardstown granted Templeville a 35 year lease over land at Leopardstown race course. Templeville constructed a sports club including indoor and outdoor tennis courts. However, the relationship between the parties has been fractious and has resulted in many legal disputes. In 2011 there were nine separate disputes between the parties. The parties entered into a complex mediation process which led to a Mediated Settlement Agreement to resolve all of the outstanding disputes. The Agreement was made a rule of court.

That did not resolve the disputes, though. In 2012 Leopardstown issued High Court proceedings seeking a declaration that the Agreement was still in force and seeking money owed, damages and other reliefs. Templeville counterclaimed that Leopardstown induced it into the Agreement by misrepresentation regarding two ESB cables which run under the property.

In the High Court (here), Charleton J granted Leopardstown the orders sought, stating:

70. It is impossible not to be satisfied that Templeville had knowledge of the transverse ESB cable. I am satisfied that Philip Smyth [Templeville director], in claiming no knowledge of the cable is giving evidence that, in these circumstances, a court could not accept.

Templeville appealed that decision.


Hay v O’Grady [1992] 1 IR 210


The rule from Hay v O’Grady was stated by by McCarthy J at 217:

1. An appellate court does not enjoy the opportunity of seeing and hearing the witnesses as does the trial judge who hears the substance of the evidence but, also, observes the manner in which it is given and the demeanour of those giving it. The arid pages of a transcript seldom reflect the atmosphere of a trial.

2. If the findings of fact made by the trial judge are supported by credible evidence, this Court is bound by those findings, however voluminous and, apparently, weighty the testimony against them. The truth is not the monopoly of any majority. …


Court of Appeal


Allowing Templeville’s appeal, the Court of Appeal issued two judgments. Hogan J (here) stated:

123. Third, the findings made by the High Court to the effect that Templeville had such knowledge cannot be sustained. Specifically, the trial judge did not apply the correct legal test in assessing this question, since he should have considered whether Leopardstown had established on the balance of probabilities that Templeville had actual and complete knowledge of the existence of the traversing cable in the manner required by the Supreme Court in Gahan. It was not enough, for example, to point to the existence of ESB manholes on the tennis court site in order to fix Templeville with knowledge, as this would go constructive rather than actual knowledge only.

Finlay Geoghegan J (here) wrote a concurring judgment finding that the evidence before the trial judge did not establish that Templeville had complete knowledge of the existence of the two cables at the time it entered the Agreement. She stated at [31]:

The onus on this issue of actual and complete knowledge is on Leopardstown and it does not appear that it can be considered as discharged by such credibility findings of the trial judge.


Leopardstown sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Court granted leave on two issues of general public importance:

(a) The principle and application of the rule in Hay v O’Grady [1992] I.R. 210 and the jurisprudence derived therefrom. The legal status of explicit or implicit findings of fact, and inferences by a trial judge, are fundamental to the role of appeal courts and a matter of general public importance. In essence did the Court of Appeal exceed its jurisdiction by misapplying Hay v O’Grady?

(b) The test and criteria to establish misrepresentation are matters of law which were addressed by this Court in Gahan v Boland [1985] ILRM 218. The Court was not asked to overrule Gahan v Boland. An issue was raised as to the nature of what should be proved in order to show misrepresentation, and, in particular, whether it must be shown that the representee was actually induced to enter into the transaction by reason of misrepresentation. Can constructive knowledge be a defence? (It was noted that since s. 86 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act, 2009, there are new rules regarding constructive knowledge. The Act of 2009 is not in issue on this appeal).


Supreme Court

Chief Justice Denham wrote the judgment for the five judge panel.  MacMenamin J wrote a concurring judgment. Allowing Leopardstown’s appeal, Denham CJ held that Gahan v Boland did not create an onus on Leopardstown to establish that Mr Smyth had conscious knowledge of the two cables on the day he entered the Agreement [97]. There was ample evidence to support the trial judge’s finding that Mr Smyth had knowledge of the cables, and that was sufficient to defeat Templeville’s claim of misrepresentation [98]. And Hay v O’Grady establishes that an appeal court should not set aside a trial judge’s finding of fact which is supported by credible evidence.

The Court overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the High Court orders.

New Appeal: Re s 22 of the Courts Act 1981; Re Order 22 r 6 Rules of the Superior Courts

In this determination (Reaney v Interlink), the Supreme Court granted Interlink leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction under s 22 of the Courts Act 1981 and award Reaney interest on damages for breach of contract from the date of breach rather than from the date of judgment.



S 22 of the Courts Act 1981 (here) grants a court the discretionary power to order the payment of interest on an award of damages for the period from when the cause of action arose to the date of judgment.

Order 22, rule 6 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (here) provides for the awarding of costs in cases where a defendant has paid a sum into the court which is equal to or in excess of the award that the court makes to a successful plaintiff.



Interlink operates a network of courier franchises throughout Ireland. From 1995 to 2010, Reaney operated an Interlink franchise in Cork. In 20o8 a dispute arose between the parties; Reaney issued High Court proceedings seeking damages for breach of contract. In late 2009 Interlink issued a notice of termination of contract to Reaney pursuant to s 13 of the franchise agreement. The franchise terminated in July 2010. Reaney issued separate High Court proceedings for money due under s 13 of the franchise agreement. In December 2010 the High Court consolidated both sets of proceedings.

In January 2011 Interlink lodged €253,000 with the High Court to satisfy all of Reaney’s claims but denied liability. In October 2011 Interlink lodged another €109,000 with the High Court to satisfy all of Reaney’s claims, while denying liability.

In November 2012 the High Court (here) awarded Reaney €356,000 in damages against Interlink (which had lodged €363,000 in total with the court) but refused to award interest from the dates at which the actions arose as the franchise agreement did not make provision for such interest. And the High Court refused to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction under s 22 of the 1981 Act to award interest from the earlier dates.

As Interlink’s lodgment was greater that the award, under Order 22, that decision could mean that: Interlink would be liable for its own and Reaney’s costs up to the date it lodged the second payment with the court; and Reaney would be liable for his own and Interlink’s costs after the date Interlink lodged the second payment with the court. (Someone may correct me on this: Order 22 is complex).

Interlink appealed to the Court of Appeal. Reaney cross appealed, arguing that the High Court should have exercised its jurisdiction to award interest from the dates the actions arose.

In July 2016, the Court of Appeal (Finlay Geoghan J writing) dismissed Interlink’s appeal and upheld Reaney’s cross appeal. On the application of interest, Reaney’s award increased to €423,500. Under Order 22, this judgment, if allowed to stand, means that Interlink could be liable for all of the legal costs of both parties (I think).

Interlink applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the CoA decision. The Court determined that the case raised a number of issues of general importance and granted leave to appeal on the following issues:

(i) The clear functioning of the Order 22 lodgment procedure is a matter of general public importance.

(ii) It is appropriate for the Court to consider the issue of the interest to be paid on lodgments pursuant to s. 22 of the Courts Act, 1981, and to clarify the law.

(iii) Does a court have a discretion pursuant to s. 22 of the Courts Act, 1981, in relation to proceedings arising out of an agreement even if the agreement does not contain any proviso in respect of the payment of interest?

(iv) Does a court have a discretion to refuse to exercise its discretion to award interest under s. 22 of the Courts Act, 1981.

(v) What are the principles according to which a court should exercise its discretion under s. 22 of the Courts Act 1981?

(vi) In construing Order 22 rule 6, was the Court of Appeal correct in law in finding that, for the purposes of Order 22, rule 6, the “amount awarded” by the Court is to be regarded as including any Courts Act interest awarded?

(vii) Was it correct in law to hold (as in the High Court) that even though the amount ultimately awarded to the plaintiffs was less than the total amount lodged by the defendant pursuant to Order 22, that the lodgments were nihil ad rem and of no relevance to the issue of costs because (the High Court held) the form of notices of lodgement did not comply with Order 22(5) because they did not allocate the accounts lodged to the different claims being made by the plaintiffs? (High Court judgment 30th November, 2012).

New Appeal: Must the DPP clarify inconsistencies in a witness’s statement before deciding to prosecute?

In this determination, DPP v DH, the Supreme Court granted the DPP leave for a leapfrog appeal from the Central Criminal Court on three questions:


(i) Does either the prosecution or the defence have a right of appeal against an order of a trial judge staying a trial pending the taking of further steps by the prosecution?

(ii) In considering whether to stay a criminal trial after its commencement, is a trial judge bound to apply the same test as that appropriate to judicial review proceedings aimed at quashing a decision to prosecute?

(iii) Does the Director of Public Prosecutions have a duty to clarify serious inconsistencies in a witness’s statements before deciding to prosecute, where such inconsistencies may go to the reliability of that witness’s evidence, or is it sufficient that disclosure of such inconsistencies is made to the defence?



This case concerns allegations of numerous counts of rape and indecent assault of a young girl dating back to 1987 – 1989.

At trial, DH sought to have the prosecution stayed on grounds of culpable prosecutorial delay. In a voir dire trial, the trial judge did not accept DH’s arguments on delay. However, it emerged that the girl’s social worker (Ms C) had noted in 1995 that the girl was not certain that intercourse had taken place; although at the time of trial the complainant was certain that it had.

The trial judge ordered a stay on the prosecution of the rape charges, stating:

This is a piece of evidence that might indicate that [the complainant’s] evidence to the Court, while truthful and honest might not be reliable and the duty was on the prosecution to explore that evidence, bearing in mind that the risk of an unfair trial that everyone accepts can follow from long delay.

The DPP sought leave for a leapfrog appeal against that order directly to the Supreme Court. The constitutional threshold for a leapfrog appeal are (1), an appeal must be in the interests of justice and (2), there must be exceptional circumstances.

The DPP did not argue that she could not fulfill the terms of the stay. She argued that she met the constitutional threshold as she had no right of appeal to the Court of Appeal where the Central Criminal Court order is not an acquittal, conviction or sentence (1), and it would lead to an inequality between her and the accused if the Supreme Court did not grant leave (2).

The Court determined that the DPP met the constitutional threshold and granted leave.

On appeal “the Director intends to argue that the trial judge applied an incorrect test in exercising her jurisdiction to impose a stay; that she failed to have regard to the limited grounds upon which a decision to prosecute can be reviewed by the courts; that she erred in considering that there was a real risk of an unfair trial having regard to the fact that the documents in question had been disclosed; that she focussed disproportionately on the hearsay accounts of words used by the complainant in the earlier investigations; and that she erred in concluding that the alleged inconsistencies justified the staying of a prosecution”.

Sunday Newspapers v Gilchrist & Rogers: Inherent jurisdiction for in camera hearing: interests are particularly important and necessity is truly compelling

Here, the Supreme Court held that:

Where the Oireachtas has not seen fit to legislate for the possibility of a hearing in camera, then the court should only exercise an inherent jurisdiction to depart from a full hearing in public where it is shown that the interests involved are particularly important, and the necessity is truly compelling.



Rogers and Gilchrist issued High Court defamation proceedings against Sunday Newspapers. The articles complained of named one of the plaintiffs as a garda handler for the witness protection scheme and the other as a doctor who assessed witnesses for the scheme and alleged that they had an affair.

The Commissioner applied to be joined as notice party and sought that proceedings be conducted in camera. The Commissioner submitted that evidence may relate to “issues of public, national importance, and the protection of life and the interests of State security and public safety”, CoA [3]. The High Court joined the Commissioner and granted her orders restricting the reporting of evidence from the trial. The Commissioner and Sunday Newspapers both appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal.

Article 34.1 0f the Constitution states:

Justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by this Constitution and, save in such special and limited cases as may be prescribed by law, shall be administered in public.

In In Re R Ltd [1989] IR 126 the Supreme Court interpreted Article 34.1 very narrowly. In the majority judgment, Walsh J held that “law” in Article 34.1 means legislation enacted since 1937.

In Irish Times & Ors v Ireland & Ors [1998] 1 IR 359, the Supreme Court recognised that the courts have jurisdiction in some exceptional circumstances to direct that criminal trials be conducted otherwise than in public, even in the absence of legislative provision.

Allowing the Commissioner’s appeal, the Court of Appeal (here) applied a balancing test between the rights protected by Article 34.1 and other rights protected by the Constitution, such as the right to life, State security and public safety.

The Supreme Court granted Sunday Newspapers leave to appeal that decision.


Supreme Court

O’Donnell J wrote the judgment for the Court. Dismissing Sunday Newspapers’ appeal, O’Donnell J found that “Irish Times v Ireland establishes that the courts retain power, not dependent on legislation, to limit the extent to which a case is heard in public” [25], and set out the criteria for exercising that jurisdiction:

(i) The Article 34.1 requirement of administration of justice in public is a fundamental constitutional value of great importance.

(ii) Article 34.1 itself recognises however that there may be exceptions to that fundamental rule;

(iii) Any such exception to the general rule must be strictly construed, both as to the subject matter, and the manner in which the procedures depart from the standard of a full hearing in public;

(iv) Any such exception may be provided for by statute but also under the common law power of the court to regulate its own proceedings;

(v) Where an exception from the principle of hearing in public is sought to be justified by reference only to the common law power and in the absence of legislation, then the interests involved must be very clear, and the circumstances pressing. Here that demanding test is capable of being met by the combination of the threat to the programme and the risk to lives of people in it or administering it. This is not a matter of speculation, but seems an unavoidable consequence of the existence of a witness protection programme.

(vi) While if it can be shown the justice cannot be done unless a hearing is conducted other than in public, that will plainly justify the exception from the rule established by Article 34.1, but that is not the only criterion. Where constitutional interests and values of considerable weight may be damaged or destroyed by a hearing in public, it may be appropriate for the legislature to provide for the possibility of the hearing other than in public, (as it has done) and for the court to exercise that power in a particular case if satisfied that it is a case which presents those features which justify a hearing other than in public.

(vii) The requirement of strict construction of any exception to the principle of trial in public means that a court must be satisfied that each departure from that general rule is no more than is required to protect the countervailing interest. It also means that court must be resolutely sceptical of any claim to depart from any aspect of a full hearing in public. Litigation is a robust business. The presence of the public is not just unavoidable, but is necessary and welcome. In particular this will mean that even after concluding that case warrants a departure from that constitutional standard, the court must consider if any lesser steps are possible such as providing for witnesses not to be identified by name, or otherwise identified or for the provision of a redacted transcript for any portion of the hearing conducted in camera.

Applying those principles to this case, O’Donnell J stated that “the public interest in the functioning of the Witness Protection Programme and the consequent protection of the lives of participants in it and officers and staff mean that the court’s power to control its own powers must extend to departing from a hearing in public in this case at least to some extent” [45].


Court’s conclusion

46 This appeal raised a single issue of principle. On that issue I would dismiss the newspaper’s appeal and would uphold the order of the Court of Appeal, but on substantially different and narrower grounds. However it remains open to the parties to address the trial court on these matters in the light of the development of the case and is a matter which in any event the trial judge should keep under review. I would therefore affirm the order of the Court of Appeal that the trial in this case may be heard otherwise than in public, with liberty to the parties and any other media organisation to apply to the trial judge to limit or vary that order either in general, or in relation to specific issues or aspects of the case. Finally I should say that the Court directed that this appeal be heard in public and this judgment has not been subject to redaction in any way.

MJE v Horvath: State not allowed raise argument on appeal not raised at trial

Here, the Supreme Court (Denham CJ writing) dismissed the State’s appeal against the High Court’s refusal to order Horvaht’s surrender to Hungary under a European Arrest Warrant. The Court held that the High Court’s interpretation of s 45 of the European Arrest Warrant Act (pre-amendment) was correct. And that the State could not argue for a post-amendment interpretation as it had not raised that argument at trial.



In May 2011 the High Court endorsed a European Arrest Warrant from Hungary seeking the surrender of Ferenc Horvath. That was the third warrant issued for Horvath and contained additional information:

– the named person was convicted at first instance and that a sentence of 3 years and 6 months was imposed on him;

– the named person is now sought for the purposes of prosecution and not to serve the above sentence imposed on him at first instance;

– the named person is now sought for the purposes of an appeal hearing and this appeal is a full hearing of the case.


Section 45 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003

S 45 originally prohibited the surrender of a person convicted in their absence unless a retrial was available. In 2012 s 45 was amended to permit the surrender of such persons where an appeal (on merits, including fresh evidence) is available.

S 45 must be interpreted in light of Article 5(1) of the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant 2002/584/JHA. Article 5(1) limits surrender to cases where the surrendered person “will have an opportunity to apply for a retrial of the case in the issuing Member State and to be present at the judgment”.


High Court

The trial judge (Edwards J) refused to order Horvath’s surrender. Edwards held that the amendment to s 45 only applied to cases commenced after the amendment was introduced. And as no guarantee of retrial was provided surrender was prohibited. But, on application from the State, he granted leave to appeal on a point of law of exceptional public importance:

Whether the High Court was correct in law in its decision that the surrender of the respondent to Hungary for the purposes of a second instance prosecution fell within the scope of an application of s. 45 of the European Arrest Warrant Act of 2003, as amended.


Supreme Court

Dismissing the appeal, Denham CJ stated:

50. As the High Court decided the case by reference to the un-amended s. 45, and counsel for the Minister now argue that the amended version of s. 45 applies, a situation has arisen where the Minister wishes to argue a ground which was not argued in the High Court. It is not in accordance with the jurisprudence of this Court to consider an appeal on issues not argued in the High Court, and further which were not part of the certificate providing for appeal to this Court, and nor were identified in the grounds of appeal.

51. On the issue of the application of s. 45 of the European Arrest Warrant Act, 2003, as amended, (prior to 2012) I would affirm the decision of the High Court that the surrender of the respondent was prohibited in the absence of an undertaking as required by section 45.

New Appeal: Must a document required to justify detention be headed as a “Warrant of Detention” in order to be valid ?

Here, P (I) v Governor of Cloverhill Prison, the Supreme Court granted P leave to appeal his order of detention pending deportation. The Court certifying five questions:

(i) Must the document required to justify the detention of an individual be headed as a “Warrant of Detention” in order to be valid ?

(ii) What is the nature of the power to amend a document providing for the detention of an individual relied on in answer to an enquiry under Article 40.4.2° of the Constitution and can a new warrant be provided in place of the original document relied on to justify the detention?

(iii) Can such new document be backdated to the date of the original detention of the individual or should it be regarded as being in addition to the original documentation provided by way of certificate rather than a substitution thereof?

(iv) What effect, if any, does backdating have on the validity of the documentation relied on and the steps taken to detain the applicant?

(v) Finally, what is the jurisdiction of any Court to grant a stay or an injunction to restrain the deportation of an individual pending appeal when the underlying deportation order has never been challenged?


The Governor of Cloverhill Prison was holding P pending deportation on a valid, unchallenged, order for deportation. P issued Article 40.4.2° (habeas corpus) proceedings in the High Court. He alleged that the order for his detention was invalid, as it was headed “Notification of arrest and detention” instead of “Warrant of arrest and detention”. The High Court (Humphreys J) held that the warrant was defective but that the court had an inherent jurisdiction to permit the amendment of the document. The Governor amended the document heading to “Warrant of arrest and detention”, and Humphreys J held that P’s detention was legal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed P’s appeal and upheld the Governor’s cross appeal. It held that the original document was sufficient to justify P’s detention. It also upheld the High Court’s finding on its inherent jurisdiction to amend.

The Supreme Court determined that P had raised issues of general public importance which met the constitutional threshold for a further appeal to the Supreme Court.


New Appeal: Does the Circuit Court have jurisdiction in possession proceedings for un-rateable properties?

In this determination (Permanent TSB v Langan), the Supreme Court granted Permanent leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision (here) that the Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction to hear Permanent’s repossession proceedings for properties mortgaged by Langan, as s 22 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 (here) limits Circuit Court jurisdiction to properties below a defined rateable charge (currently €235.95), and the properties in question are un-rateable.



The Circuit Court’s jurisdiction to deal with matters relating to land is restricted to properties with a rateable value below €235. Subject to the Valuation Act 2001, private dwellings are no longer rateable.

In May 2015, the High Court delivered judgment in Bank of Ireland v Finnegan (here). Murphy J held that the Circuit Court does not have jurisdiction to determine cases relating to un-rateable properties. However, in November 2015, Noonan J, in the High Court, held that the Circuit Court does have jurisdiction in such cases, Bank of Ireland v Hanley (here).

Langan fell into arrears in his mortgage to Permanent over six properties. Permanent issued Circuit Court proceedings seeking possession of the six properties. The civil bills stated that the annual rateable value for each of the properties is below €235,95. In February 2015, the Circuit Court granted orders for possession for all six properties. Lanigan appealed to the High Court, where he argued that the Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction in his case.

As there were conflicting High Court authorities, Baker J stated a case to the Court of Appeal asking whether the Circuit Court has jurisdiction to hear possession cases for un-rateable properties. The CoA held that it does not. Permanent sought leave appeal to that decision to the Supreme Court. The Court determined that Permanent had raised an issue of general public importance and granted leave.


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