Beades v Ireland

JudgeMr. Justice Haughton
Judgment Date03 June 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] IEHC 302
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[2015 No. 10615 P]
Date03 June 2016






[2016] IEHC 302

Haughton Robert J.

[2015 No. 10615 P]


Practice & Procedures – O.19, r. 28 of the Rules of the Superior Courts – Dismissal of proceedings – Want of cause of action – Courts and Court Officers Act, 1995 – Appointment of judges – Art. 35.2 of the Constitution – Abuse of process of law – Adverse publicity The Bangalore Principle of Judicial Conduct, 2002

Facts: The defendants sought an order for dismissal of the plenary proceedings instituted by the plaintiff for a declaration that nominee Peter Kelly as publically published for the post of the President of the High Court was an unsuitable candidate on the basis that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action. The defendants argued that the nomination of the President of the High Court being the function of the executive, the Court had no power to review such a decision merely on the basis of unsuitability in the absence of any concrete grounds showing ineligibility as a matter of law.

Mr. Justice Haughton dismissed the plaintiff's proceedings under o.19, r. 28 of the Rules of the Superior Court or in the alternative under its inherent jurisdiction. The Court held that it would not intervene in executive decisions unless there was a manifest disregard of the constitution by the government. The Court noted that under art. 35.4.1 of the Constitution, it is devoid of jurisdiction for removal of a sitting judge from his office for stated misbehaviour and incapacity, which was the sole discretion of the Oireachtas. The Court, taking note of the principles of independence of judiciary enshrined under the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, 2002, held that those principles were already imbibed under art. 35.2 of the Constitution and there was no interference or influence of the executive over judiciary as alleged by the plaintiff. The Court found that the present proceedings were instituted with an ill motive of gaining adverse public attention and thus, it was an abuse of the process of law.

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Haughton delivered on the 3rd day of June, 2016

In this case there are two motions before the court. In the first application, the defendants seek an order pursuant to O. 19, r. 28 of the Rules of the Superior Courts striking out the Plenary Summons and Statement of Claim and dismissing the proceedings on the grounds that the pleadings disclose no reasonable cause of action and/or that any cause of action thereby disclosed is frivolous or vexatious, or alternatively, pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the court to strike out proceedings on the basis that they are bound to fail and constitute an abuse of process.


In the second motion, the plaintiff seeks judgment in default of defence. As it is more logical to first deal with the defendant's motion to dismiss, that is what I have determined to do, and I heard argument from both parties in respect of that motion on 31st May, 2016. Accordingly, the plaintiff's motion for judgment in default of defence will be deferred until judgment on the first motion is delivered.


The procedural background to this case is that by Plenary Summons issued on 17th December, 2015, the plaintiff seeks a number of orders:-

(1) an order compelling the defendants and each of them singly and collectively to adhere to the provisions under the Irish Constitution and the Courts and Court Officers Act, 1995;

(2) a declaration that nominee, Peter Kelly, as publically published for the post of President of the High Court is unsuitable and an unfit person for the position;

(3) a declaration that Peter Kelly does not comply with s. 16(7)(b) of the Courts and Court Officers Act, 1995, for reasons particularised in the General Endorsement of Claim at (a) – (h);

(4) an order compelling the first and second named defendants to set up a Judicial Council to regulate the judiciary 'as is commonly required in other common law jurisdictions to protect the citizens of the State' and in further compliance with obligations under Article 6 of the European Convention; [ 1]

(5) 'Failure to comply with the specific statutory requirements under the Courts and Court Officers Act 1995';

(6) further and other relief; and

(7) costs.


On 21st December, 2015, the plaintiff sought ex parte an order prohibiting the appointment of Kelly J. as President of the High Court 'until such time as there is a proper examination as to his suitability'. That application was made ex parte initially before Baker J. on the morning of 21st December, 2015. She ordered that the application be adjourned to 2pm on that day, and that the plaintiff notify and serve the defendants through the office of the Chief State Solicitor.


The making of that application seems to have resulted in a postponement of the ceremony due to take place before the President of Ireland to effect the appointment of Kelly J. as President of the High Court.


The plaintiff's application for an injunction ultimately came on before Gilligan J. on the afternoon of 21st December, 2015, and an order was made refusing the application, and refusing a stay on the ceremony and costs were ordered to be paid by the plaintiff. Gilligan J. subsequently ordered that a copy of the transcript of the DAR (Digital Audio Recording) for the hearing held before him on 21st December, 2015 be released to the plaintiff.


Gilligan J. refused an application on 21st December, 2015 to strike out the proceedings for failing to disclose a cause of action, but granted liberty to the defendants to bring an application by notice of motion to strike out. I am satisfied that in so doing Gilligan J. did not determine the issue now before this court, and that there is no question of the defendants' current applicant being res judicata.


The ceremony before the President proceeded and Kelly J. was duly appointed President of the High Court on 21st December, 2015.


It should be noted that one of the plaintiff's complaints is that Baker J. commenced hearing his application at 2pm on 21st December, 2015, but that it was interrupted by a communication that came through the court registrar, and that the case was thereupon transferred before Gilligan J. who heard and dealt with the application. On 14th January, 2016, the plaintiff made an application before Baker J. to preserve all (relevant) material whether hard copies, electronic or all digital communications arising from the hearing before her at 2pm on 21st December, 2015. That application was, in part, refused, the court directing only that the application be adjourned to 19th January, 2016, to the extent that it related to mobile phone records of the court registrar.


On 22nd December, 2015, the plaintiff filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of Gilligan J. on 4th January, 2016. The defendants filed the required respondent's notice, contesting that appeal. The defendant asserts that that appeal is now moot. I was informed that the Supreme Court did not accede to the plaintiff's application, and the plaintiff indicated his intention to apply to the Court of Appeal for an extension of time within which to appeal the decisions made on 21st December, 2015, but such an application has not yet been made.

The Statement of Claim


The plaintiff delivered a Statement of Claim dated 29th January, 2016. An examination of this is central to the court's decision in respect of the defendants' motion, and I have considered it carefully, and also considered and taken into account the somewhat different pleas and reliefs claimed in the Plenary Summon. In so doing I have taken into account that these documents were prepared by a lay person and without the precision that would be expected of lawyers.


The following is a summary of the claims made by the plaintiff in his Statement of Claim:-

(i) That the plaintiff, as a citizen, has an entitlement that the Government's executive function in relation to the appointment of judges be exercised without risking due process, integrity or imperilling justice.

(ii) That the Government fails in its duty if it knowingly or carelessly nominates as a judge a person who falls short of the 'model judge' described in a passage by an 'Israeli Chief Justice set out in Schedule A.' It is claimed that Kelly J. 'does not measure up to that model and yet the Government knowingly nominated him pursuant to Article 13.11 of the Constitution'. [2]

(iii) That a failure by Government to assess on any basis the suitability of a nominee 'may jeopardise justice' and is actionable as a breach of constitutional rights – even if the person nominated is suitable. It is similarly a breach for the Government to knowingly nominate a person who is unsuitable. It is no answer to such a claim that an unsuitable judge may subsequently be impeached under the Constitution.

(iv) That an express duty to ensure compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights is imposed on the defendants by virtue of s. 3(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003, and that the defendants failed to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. [3]

(v) That as a judge of the Court of Appeal, Kelly J. was not eligible or qualified to be appointed as President of the High Court under the Courts and Court Officers Act, 1995 (as amended) ('the 1995 Act').

(vi) That as the 1995 Act governs procedures for judicial appointments, the expected vacancy was not the subject of advertisement or consideration by the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board ('JAAB'), and no list of names was submitted to Government, the nomination of Kelly...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 cases
  • Beades v Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 14 March 2018
    ...Ltd. v. Minister for the Environment (No. 1) [1992] 1 I.R. 277; [1992] I.L.R.M 209. Barry v. Buckley [1981] I.R. 306. Beades v. Ireland [2016] IEHC 302, [2016] 2 I.R. 224. Behan v. McGinley [2008] IEHC 18, [2011] 1 I.R. 47. Boland v. An Taoiseach [1974] I.R. 338; (1974) 109 I.L.T.R. 13. Sun......
  • Beades v European Banking Authority
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 21 December 2016
    ...circumstances do not take him beyond an ordinary citizen and that the reasoning adopted by Haughton J., in Beades v Ireland & Ors [2016] IEHC 302, in particular, at para.67, applies here. The plaintiff could not obtain a ' benefit in any material or personal sense' from the action. He subm......
  • Right to Know CLG v Commissioner for Environmental Information
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 29 April 2022
    ...the appointment of judges (Article 34.6 and 35.1). (See on the role of the President in the appointment of judges: Beades v. Ireland [2016] IEHC 302, [2016] 2 I.R. 49 . Article 13.3.1° requires that every Bill passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas “shall requ......
  • Gaultier v The Revenue Commissioners
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 27 April 2022 not addressing submissions which were of no materiality to the issue before the Court. Further, the decision of Beades v. Ireland [2016] IEHC 302 has no relevance to the issues that arose in the within proceedings.” 116 The second to sixth named respondents further state a) “The appellan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT