A recent High Court decision is a useful recitation of the criteria that apply when considering whether an individual can claim to be a consumer for the purposes of the Brussels I Regulation in seeking to bring proceedings in a particular jurisdiction. Because an individual may act outside of his or her trade or profession in engaging a service, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is a consumer for these purposes.
In a recent case the High Court considered the common practice of seeking broad-ranging and extensive particulars of pleadings and concluded that the strict legal requirements are somewhat narrower. A party looking to seek particulars should appreciate that particulars to be sought are appropriately tailored to obtaining an understanding, in broad outline, of the case it will have to meet.
The High Court recently ruled on whether the relationship between a lender and a borrower was, in the circumstances, a fiduciary relationship. Based on the facts, the court concluded that the relationship did not go beyond that of a contractual relationship. The decision clarifies that as a general principle, the relationship between a lender and a borrower does not involve a fiduciary relationship under Irish law.
A recent case confirmed that an application to dismiss a claim for failure to make discovery will not succeed where the discovery obligation is complied with. The case is a reminder that in making applications to strike out proceedings, the courts are slow to deprive litigants of a trial. The decision confirms that it is only in extreme cases that pleadings will be struck out arising from delayed or sequential making of discovery.
A recent High Court decision confirmed that where a party seeks to bring an application, it should deal with any related aspects in that application the first time round, rather than holding it over for another application. A party to litigation should ensure not only that matters which have been litigated are not re-litigated, but also that matters which ought properly to be brought before the court at a particular hearing are actually brought before it.
A number of recent High Court decisions considered the concept of 'no transaction' damages in cases involving professional negligence. The courts have confirmed that the correct approach in no transaction cases is to determine whether the negligent act resulted in the occurence of the transaction.
The Irish courts have 'inherent jurisdiction' at their disposal, which allows them to take certain steps with regard to the conduct of proceedings. Where procedural or substantive law has a gap in terms of giving the courts a clear power to do something, there may be a basis on which to invoke inherent jurisdiction. A recent High Court case demonstrates how it can operate effectively.
Under Irish procedure, the general rule is that costs 'follow the event' or, more simply, the winning party is generally entitled to its costs from the losing party. The High Court recently reconsidered the case law on security for costs. Although its decision sets out no new principles, it does set out a useful summary of the basic test applicable to the award of security for costs, as well as the numerous exceptions.
The Supreme Court recently issued its views on the holding of modular trials in the context of an appeal from a Commercial Court decision. This decision is important because it represents a clear statement from the Supreme Court with regard to the circumstances in which it will interfere in a case management decision.
Various types of injunction can be obtained under Irish law, depending on the relevant circumstances. A recent case involving an interlocutory application for three particular orders, two reflecting injunctions of a mandatory nature, has confirmed the general approach of the courts to the granting of mandatory injunctions on an interlocutory basis.
Summary judgment in Irish procedure is available only for claims involving liquidated sums, where there is no dispute regarding liability. In a recent High Court decision in a matter proceeding in the Commercial List, Judge Kelly outlined that the jurisdiction of the Irish courts to award summary judgment against a defendant is broader than expressly provided for in the Court Rules.
A recent High Court decision dealing with third-party proceedings has addressed the extent to which prejudice is a relevant factor to be taken into account in dealing with applications to set aside third-party notices. The court recited the twin rationales of not duplicating court time and avoiding inconsistent judgments as part of the rationale as to why a court might not set aside a third-party notice.
The High Court has recently considered again the question of costs orders to be made in complex litigation. It identified that the overriding principle is that costs follow the event, but that difficulties can arise in determining what the 'event' is for the purpose of an award of costs. The decision represents a useful restatement of the principles applicable to costs in complex litigation.
As a general rule, Irish law does not permit a shareholder to bring an action on behalf of the company in which it holds shares and treats the company itself as the proper plaintiff. However, through four recognised exceptions to that rule, a shareholder can bring proceedings on behalf of the company in a derivative action. The High Court recently examined this rule and whether a fifth exception existed – and, if so, on what terms.
The High Court recently considered the question of timing in bringing third-party proceedings. In related proceedings, a third party to both proceedings sought to challenge the third-party notices by which it was joined to the proceedings. The court refused to set the notices aside given the facts of the case and the objective of the third-party procedure to have all matters dealt with in one set of proceedings.
A recent High Court decision involved consideration of whether the court properly had jurisdiction to hear a case based on the principles of the EU Brussels I Regulation. While the decision does not establish any novel principle, it does give parties certainty that Irish courts will determine jurisdiction in accordance with the relatively clear provisions of the Brussels I Regulation.
The Commercial Court recently considered the applicable test in relation to discovery in related cases which were proceeding before it. The court, in considering the applications before it, addressed the relevant test for determining whether particular categories of discovery should be ordered by the court. In doing so, it also had to consider whether to order discovery of confidential and commercially sensitive documents.
In a recent decision the High Court has confirmed the basis on which jurisdiction will be determined for disputes between parties where the relevant agreement specifies the courts of a particular jurisdiction for hearing disputes. Where a jurisdiction clause is contained within a single contract, even in a party's second tongue, it will be difficult for a party to deny jurisdiction.
Under Order 19, Rule 28 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, the courts have jurisdiction to strike out proceedings where the plaintiff has no reasonable cause of action. They also have an inherent jurisdiction to dismiss proceedings where they constitute an abuse of process. Both jurisdictions were recently addressed by the court in Coleman v O'Neill, although the focus was on the former.
Under Irish law, as a general rule, costs typically follow the event such that the winning party recovers its party and party costs from the unsuccessful party. The recent High Court decision in Country Monaghan Anti-Pylon Ltd v Eirgrid plc represents a restatement of the test for granting security for costs under Section 390 of the Companies Act.
The modular trial is becoming a more recognisable feature of complex litigation in Ireland, particularly before the Commercial Court. Although the default position of a full trial on all issues cannot be the best and most efficient way to proceed in all cases, it remains to be seen whether the conception of the 'modular trial', and the test applicable to the ordering of same, will be varied by the Supreme Court in due course.
A recent High Court decision has reiterated the principles underpinning discovery in Irish plenary actions in the context of a trademark dispute. Where disagreement arose over discovery categories, the court was faced with deciding whether certain documentation should properly be discovered.
A party that believes that it may have liability in respect of proceedings can take steps to protect itself against a costs award that might be made against it. One option is to make a Calderbank offer to settle, which the court can take into account when considering costs. A recent case has demonstrated how offers to settle – or Calderbank letters – can have cost implications where they are unreasonably refused.
In Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Limited v Quinn Investments Sweden AB the High Court had to consider applications under Articles 23 and 28 of the EU Brussels I Regulation. Ultimately, while the High Court dealt with the application under Article 23, it found that further clarification was required on the Article 28 application and referred the matter to the European Court of Justice, adjourning the proceedings pending that determination.
A recent case raised the question of whether a solicitor's undertaking in respect of future payments to be made to a client company constituted a charge over the book debts of that company within the meaning of the Companies Act 1963. The judge identified that the case raised a difficult question of company law and the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the act.
A recent High Court decision has confirmed that, under Irish law, for claims against a carrier in respect of international carriage, the Montreal Convention represents the exclusive basis on which any action lies. Moreover, any actions thereunder must relate to personal injury. However, the broad scope applied to the term 'carriage' has potentially serious implications for other types of non-personal injury claim against carriers.
The 2010 Planning Act states that for legal proceedings relating to decisions that give effect to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive, each party must bear its own costs, subject to certain limited exceptions.
The High Court recently heard a constitutional challenge initiated by members of the Quick Service Food Alliance against the rights of the Catering Joint Labour Committee (JLC) and the Labour Court to set minimum rates of pay and employment conditions for workers in the catering industry. In this landmark decision the High Court ruled that the JLC system is unconstitutional.
A recent case has highlighted the proper test applicable where it is alleged that a judge hearing a case cannot objectively be considered to be impartial. In Ryanair Limited v Terravision London Finance Limited the court had to consider an application in a Commercial Court case that he should discharge or recuse himself from the matter because of an "apprehension of bias" against one of the parties, Ryanair.
The High Court recently provided guidance in relation to the determination of costs and how they might be apportioned in circumstances where there was argumentation on various issues that were in dispute, not all of which were resolved in favour of the party which succeeded overall or which did not require a decision. Such guidance is essential in a jurisdiction that operates on the general principle that the loser pays.
The Law Reform Commission has issued its Report on the Consolidation and Reform of the Courts Acts. The proposed consolidated act should help modernise and improve the efficiency of the administration of justice in Ireland. It should also help to eliminate unnecessary provisions and set out in a single legislative instrument all of the statutory provisions previously maintained across the 240 courts acts.
In a recent High Court decision, a dairy farmer was awarded €304,320 in damages arising from the failure of the defendants to return his livestock pursuant to an agreement. In his decision, the judge identified the basic principles applicable to contractual damages under Irish law. Only net losses are recoverable and there is a duty to mitigate loss, although reasonable costs incurred in doing so are also recoverable.
In a recent decision of the Competition List of the High Court, Justice Cooke considered whether to grant a series of interlocutory injunctions, the essential purpose of which was to prevent the defendants, pending trial of the action, from selling or offering to sell certain products in the concrete and cement sector at allegedly below-cost prices in breach of the Competition Act and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
In a recent case the High Court (Commercial) considered the test applicable to staying court proceedings in favour of arbitration and addressed the question of how the court should determine whether the test has been satisfied. Although the court's comments in the latter regard were made in passing, they represent an interesting development in relation to the relevant test under the Arbitration Act.
The Arbitration Act 2010, which came into force earlier this year, sets out new arbitration procedures and repeals all prior legislation on the subject. The first judgment under the new act, which was recently issued, reflects the courts' obligation to stay proceedings in favour of arbitration, so long as the application is brought in time.
After a long gestation period, the general scheme of the Judicial Council Bill 2010 has finally been published. Among other things, the proposed bill envisages the establishment of a Judicial Conduct Committee, which will be responsible for investigating complaints relating to judicial misconduct.
In a recent decision the High Court confirmed that the courts will seek to uphold jurisdiction clauses in commercial agreements, and that where Article 23 of the EU Brussels I Regulation does not apply, grave reasons will be required to persuade a court not to uphold an express jurisdictional choice.
The rules applicable to the High Court Commercial List permit the court to make such order as appears convenient for the determination of the proceedings in a manner which is just, expeditious and likely to minimise the costs of those proceedings. A recent High Court decision has clarified the basis upon which modular trials may be ordered in cases proceeding in the Commercial List.
The Arbitration Act 2010 is now in force. A bifurcated arbitration regime no longer exists and an international uniform set of rules applies instead to all arbitrations irrespective of whether they are domestic or international in nature. However, through the uniform application of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law under the 2010 act, the scope for court intervention is reduced.
Two recent High Court cases addressed two procedural issues related to the defence of personal injuries actions: formal offers and verifying affidavits. The obligations on parties (ie, both plaintiff and defendant) to personal injury litigation in respect of formal offers and verifying affidavits are set out in the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.
The High Court has clarified that Irish law applies no distinction between a bank's right of set-off or security in place prior to being notified of a Mareva injunction. In such circumstances, provided that the bank acts in good faith in seeking to exercise its rights, the injunction has no effect on the right to set-off or on the security concerned.
The Supreme Court recently considered the basis upon which, depending on the circumstances, the name of a party to proceedings might be changed. This arose in the context of an appeal in Sandy Lane Hotel Limited v Times Newspapers Limited against a High Court order granting the application of the plaintiff to substitute "Sandy Lane Hotel Co Limited" for "Sandy Lane Hotel Limited" in the proceedings.
The Supreme Court has found in favour of The Irish Times in a case in which the newspaper had destroyed documents in order to conceal the identity of a source. According to the Supreme Court, the High Court had failed to strike a balance between the competing interests of the tribunal and the newspaper. However, the court ordered the newspaper to pay the costs of the case.
The High Court recently considered the question of whether, in the context of an application to add another party to a dispute, another court was already seized with jurisdiction. In doing so, the court had to consider whether the same cause of action was involved and, if so, what impact the dates of the respective proceedings and the application before it had on the question.
A recent Supreme Court decision has highlighted the importance of the EU Brussels I Regulation in the context of commercial transactions. The case also demonstrates that parties must ensure that they understand the nature of the individual contractual relationships into which they enter, notwithstanding the fact that there may be other related agreements between some or all of the parties.
The long-awaited Defamation Bill (introduced in 2006) has been signed into law by the president of Ireland. The Defamation Act 2009 will replace the existing Defamation Act 1961 and will allow a judge sitting with a jury in a libel action to give directions to that jury in relation to "the matter of damages". It is hoped that this legislation will finally provide guidance to Irish juries on the issue of awards for damages.
Most of the provisions of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 took effect on July 20 2008. However, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern has now published a commencement order stipulating various dates on which additional provisions will take effect.
A High Court decision affirming a rule of practice which required a return of no goods to have been made before the court would issue a bankruptcy summons to a creditor has been successfully appealed to the Supreme Court, which also held that the High Court should retain the discretion to refuse to issue a bankruptcy summons even in cases where the provisions of statute and the Rules of Court had been complied with.
In the first case on examinership to come before it in over 10 years, the Supreme Court has allowed an appeal against a High Court order refusing the petition of Gallium Limited (trading as the First Equity Group) for the appointment of an examiner, and appointed Kieran Wallace of KPMG as examiner of the company.
A recent High Court decision highlights the risk that the courts may restrain the sale of a lookalike product even where the lookalike features a highly distinctive trademark element or brand name of its own, where the product's appearance is similar and the method of consumer choice could lead to confusion. The decision may in future make it easier to obtain temporary injunctions against lookalike products.
The Commercial Division of the High Court was set up in January 2004 to facilitate more expedient and efficient trials of commercial disputes. Statistics published by the Commercial Court in November 2008 demonstrate how effective it has been in resolving business disputes, with 50% of cases being concluded within 16 weeks and 90% of cases within 47 weeks.
The High Court recently held that where proceedings are commenced in a state party to the EU Regulation on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, and the defendant is domiciled in that member state, the court cannot decline jurisdiction despite similar proceedings in a non-member state.
Walsh v National Irish Bank was an important High Court case concerning the extent of the Revenue's powers to obtain information about bank accounts held outside Ireland. The background to the case lay in a Revenue investigation into tax evasion by Irish-resident taxpayers who hold offshore bank accounts.
In a significant recent decision the Supreme Court lifted an order made by the High Court against a non-executive director of an Irish company restricting him from acting as a director of any company for a period of five years. The court described the statutory regime in this area as “draconian”.
A mother who gave birth to two children after undergoing a failed sterilization operation has failed in her High Court claim to be compensated for the cost of bringing them up. Although similar claims have been unsuccessful in Canadian, US and European courts, this was the first case in Ireland in which a court addressed a claim for damages for the costs of rearing a child on foot of a wrongful birth.
The Supreme Court has overturned the High Court's not-guilty verdict in Ireland's most significant insider-dealing case of recent years. Although the 'reasonable investor' test was considered in some detail by the High Court and rejected by the Supreme Court, it is unclear whether the High Court's elucidation of the test (which was imported from US case law) will be applied in future cases.
A recent High Court decision held that where a solicitor's attendance docket is inadvertently disclosed to another party during the conduct of litigation, in circumstances where the other party would have realized that the attendance docket had come to it in error and that the information contained therein was privileged, then privilege is not waived.
In a significant victory for tobacco companies, a case brought by an individual for personal injuries caused by the effects of smoking was recently struck out by the High Court on the grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay on the part of the plaintiff for prosecuting his claim 13 years after the date of accrual of the action and by reason of lapse of time.
In a recent decision the Irish High Court has reiterated the common law rule that legal proceedings for defamation cannot be taken on behalf of the deceased. However, this is in the context of proposals that the law be changed. The judgment raises a number of interesting issues.
A recent Irish High Court decision includes a rigorous underlining of the importance of the right to freedom of expression in Irish society. The case involved the leaking of documents over which a judicial tribunal had asserted confidentiality. Newspaper articles had subsequently appeared in the defendant newspaper that were clearly rooted in the documents.
The High Court has reserved judgment in a case in which it is argued that certain provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, part of Ireland's domestic law since 2004, are in conflict with provisions of the Irish Constitution. Judgment, when handed down, may prove to be a fascinating examination of the interaction between the two.
A recent Irish Supreme Court decision on an appeal against an award of damages that the plaintiff considered to be too low included an interesting analysis of the circumstances in which punitive damages should be awarded. It is the court's first consideration of the issue for some time.
The issue of subjecting the judiciary to a code of conduct has been especially topical in recent years in Ireland. The government has announced that its proposals for establishing a code of judicial conduct will be postponed until after the next election, which must be held before the end of July this year.
The Irish government has established a committee to examine the possibility of establishing a new Court of Appeal. The committee is chaired by a judge who examined the issue in a paper last year for the Irish Judicial Studies Institute, and includes representatives of the judiciary, the Bar and the Law Society of Ireland.
The first report from an innovative project to report on family law cases was recently submitted to the government. It is the first time that in-depth information on such cases has been collated and made available for public use. The report is the culmination of in-depth research by an Irish journalist and provides a snapshot of the family law cases coming before one court in a month.
The minister for justice has announced plans for legislation to reform the manner in which solicitors and barristers charge for their services. The anticipated changes stem from the recent publication of a report by the Legal Costs Implementation Advisory Group, which lays out specific recommendations and aims to overhaul the current system of charging fees.
The Irish Supreme Court recently cleared the way for a plaintiff to commence proceedings against the Irish police force for failing to act on allegations of sexual abuse. The court was prepared to allow the action to proceed notwithstanding that the first complaint was made nearly 40 years ago.
The High Court recently began hearing a landmark case in which the parents of two children are suing for negligence following a botched sterilization procedure. The novelty of the litigation arises from the fact that the parents are seeking the cost of raising the two children (conceived after the failed procedure) to adulthood.
A recent decision of the High Court has provided an important insight into the direction in which the courts are prepared to move to protect privacy rights. The judge based his decision on an inference drawn from a journalist's refusal to answer a question regarding whether leaked information had come from the police.
In an ongoing privacy action, a defendant has asked the High Court to seek a number of determinations from the Supreme Court as to the existing law in the area. The right to privacy is enshrined in the Constitution. However, while it is unquestionable that the right to constitutional privacy exists, its parameters and limits are unknown.
The High Court has ruled that embryos not in the womb are not protected under the Irish Constitution, which requires the state to defend and vindicate the right to life of the unborn. The reasoning on which the judge based his findings meant that he did not have to determine when precisely life begins. He noted that this is properly a matter for the Parliament.
A High Court action with the potential to impose a high duty of care on proprietors of public houses has ended in a settlement in which a publican agreed to pay €100,000 to the family of a man who drank himself to death in the publican's premises. While the proceedings settled before the court could rule, the fact that action was taken could mean a sea-change in the relationship between publican and patron.
The Irish High Court will soon deliver judgment in a precedent-setting case involving the question of whether frozen embryos can be implanted in a plaintiff wife whose estranged defendant husband will not consent to the implantation. The action is unprecedented and has major implications for Irish constitutional law - in particular, the so-called 'right to life'.
The Irish High Court has issued an order against an Irish-based internet and broadband service provider directing that it provide discovery of materials, including documents, in an attempt to identify the operators of a website which allows the public to post comments about Irish lawyers. It is believed that this is the first time that such an order has been made by an Irish court.
A recent High Court decision provides an interesting example of the reluctance of the judiciary to impinge on the powers of the executive. In this case the plaintiff, the mother of a deceased child, failed in her attempt to obtain an order directing a government minister to hold a public inquiry.
A recent High Court decision offers a fascinating examination of the interaction between competition law provisions and regulatory bodies. The plaintiff attempted to have the court apply the anti-competitive provisions of the Irish competition legislation and the EC Treaty anti-competitive rules to the Irish Medical Council.
A recent Irish decision shows the difficulty of employing the 'exceptional public importance' grounds when appealing decisions of planning authorities. The effect of the decision is that once a plaintiff fails to show grounds for judicial review in the first place, that decision can never be challenged.
Fyffes PLC, the losing party in a high-profile insider dealing trial that ran for several months in 2005, has appealed the decision of the High Court to the Supreme Court. In the weeks following the High Court ruling there was much speculation as to whether the decision would be appealed; with the announcement, the litigation enters its final phase.
A court has ruled on the first case taken for discrimination on the grounds of orientation under the Intoxicating Liquor Act. The ruling, which favoured the couple who brought the case but did not award them costs, reinforces criticisms levelled at the recent transfer of the jurisdiction in cases of alleged discrimination in licensed premises from the Equality Tribunal to district courts.
A Supreme Court decision issued in late December 2005 has grave implications for the power of politicians to protect the identity of informants who come to them with confidential information. It is questionable whether the decision is particularly healthy for the democratic process.
The Dublin District Court recently saw the first-ever conviction under Irish company law for the falsification of a document relating to the property or affairs of a registered company. The decision may well herald further prosecutions for the same offence, particularly as the director of corporate enforcement has signalled his intention to use this power repeatedly in the future.
In late 2004 the minister for justice established a committee to examine the level of fees charged by lawyers in Ireland. The committee delivered its report on January 11 2006; recommendations include establishing a legal costs regulatory body to produce guidelines setting out reasonable legal costs for particular proceedings.
The Irish High Court has delivered its judgment in a major insider dealing trial that opened in December 2004. The court found that the defendants had not been in possession of price-sensitive information; therefore, the dealing was not unlawful.
A recent Irish High Court decision addressed the power of an investigative tribunal to prevent the publication of documents it argued were confidential and, by virtue of that confidentiality, automatically precluded from being used by journalists in the writing of articles dealing with the subject matter of the tribunal.
The controversial subject of creating a body responsible for the disciplining of members of the Irish judiciary has attracted attention recently. Draft legislation implementing a judicial committee charged with this responsibility is being reviewed by the chief justice of Ireland. Apart from certain provisions in the Constitution, Ireland has no statutory framework governing alleged judicial misconduct.
The decision in Burke v UVEX SPORTS GmbH is noteworthy because of the Irish High Court's consideration of Articles 5(1) and 5(3) of the EU Brussels I Regulation and the decision of the European Court of Justice in Kalfelis v Schroder. In particular, the case illustrates the dominance of the principle of uniformity of practice and procedure in litigation across the European Union.
A recent High Court decision appears to leave the door open for a new category of 'nervous shock' cases in Irish law: the award of damages to an employee for occupational stress. In its decision the court considered directly the circumstances in which occupational stress resulting in psychiatric injury will give rise to liability on the part of the employer.
The Irish High Court has allowed the broadcasting of a programme on national television about conditions in a nursing home. Justice Clarke's ruling in the case is particularly interesting in terms of his examination of the issue of privacy, in terms of both the European Convention on Human Rights and the UK decision in Douglas v Hello!.
The recent decision in Nolan v Murphy is the first of the Irish Supreme Court on the appropriate level of damages to be awarded in civil proceedings for sexual abuse. In the case, Justice Denham felt that the principles applicable to the awarding of damages for physical injury were equally applicable to damages for sexual abuse.
The Irish Recorded Music Association, the representative body for the recording industry in Ireland, has successfully applied for disclosure orders against two Irish internet service providers. The orders were sought for the purpose of bringing copyright infringement proceedings in respect of sound recordings being uploaded by file sharers.
The dedicated Register of Reserved Judgments is due to begin operation on March 31 2005, establishing a system whereby members of the judiciary can be regularly reminded (and required to set dates for the delivery) of outstanding judgments. The system will be welcomed by practitioners and litigants alike, and will also be of great assistance for research.
The Irish Competition Authority has released its Study of Competition in Legal Services, to great interest. The report makes a number of far-reaching recommendations, including abolishing the educational monopolies of law schools for training lawyers, permitting partnerships between barristers and solicitors, and allowing solicitors to take the title of senior counsel.
In a recent judgment in a case taken against the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) by an applicant dissatisfied with the proviso that his solicitor could not communicate directly with (and receive responses directly from) the PIAB, the High Court ruled that the PIAB cannot refuse to deal directly with solicitors acting for claimants.
The Fyffes insider dealing trial continues to attract great attention in the Irish media, not just for the substantive questions raised in connection with the litigation itself, but also for a number of revelations that have emerged as side-issues to the principal evidence.
The level of legal fees charged by barristers and solicitors has attracted much attention in Ireland in recent years. The minister for justice has now established a committee to examine the level of fees charged by lawyers in Ireland, which is due to report in early to mid-2005. Perhaps significantly, it includes no representation from legal professional representative bodies.
Two major Irish public companies have crossed swords in Dublin's High Court in a case that is attracting extensive coverage. While not a landmark case in terms of the legal issues arising, the case has been billed as one of the largest corporate clashes in recent years. The costs of the trial will be at least €1 million to €2 million.
Sections 25 and 26 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, which apply solely to actions for personal injury, are designed to draw a statutory line underneath the offence of abuse of process. They provide that where a plaintiff gives or adduces evidence that he or she knows to be false or misleading, the case will be dismissed - except where it is not in the interests of justice to do so.
The right to privacy is protected under both the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003. If a case with similar facts to the Naomi Campbell Case arose in Ireland and the plaintiff brought an action for damages for breach of confidence and right to privacy, the likelihood of a favourable result would therefore be quite high.
A 2004 High Court decision demonstrates that in one aspect at least, the Irish courts are not prepared to allow recovery for nervous shock except in quite limited circumstances. The court confirmed that only victims of recognized psychiatric illnesses will be allowed to recover - a limitation that has been suggested as being oppressive to certain types of plaintiff.
As from June 1 2004, all employer liability claims must be submitted to the new Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). This will extend to public liability claims and motor claims from September 2004. If the defendant refuses to comment on an assessment made by the PIAB, the claim will be referred back to the courts to be dealt with in the usual way.
In a recent high-profile case Miss World Limited and two Irish businesswomen secured a High Court injunction preventing a former franchisee of the Miss World contest and its director from passing off any of their events as the Miss Ireland pageant. The case offers an interesting and topical restatement of the principles applicable to obtaining an injunction in Ireland.
A new Commercial Court has been set up in Dublin to address the growing need for specialist judges and a case management regime to accommodate large-scale commercial litigation. The new measures are to be welcomed by all, as they should enable the amount of time it takes for cases to come to trial to be measured in months rather than years.