BUPA Ireland Ltd and Another v The Health Insurance Authority and Others

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Cooke
Judgment Date07 March 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] IEHC 103
Docket Number[2005 No. 532 JR]
Date07 March 2013

[2013] IEHC 103

THE HIGH COURT

[No. 532 J.R./2005]
Bupa Irl Ltd & Bupa Insurance v Health Insurance Authority & Ors
COMPETITION

BETWEEN

BUPA IRELAND LIMITED AND BUPA INSURANCE
APPLICANTS

AND

THE HEALTH INSURANCE AUTHORITY, THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND CHILDREN, IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
RESPONDENTS

RSC O.58 r10

CONSTITUTION ART 40.3.2

CONSTITUTION ART 43

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 43

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 49

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 82

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 86

HEALTH INSURANCE ACT 1994 S12

HEALTH INSURANCE ACT 1994 S12(10)

HEALTH INSURANCE ACT 1994 S2

HEALTH INSURANCE ACT 1994 S7

RISK EQUALISATION SCHEME 2003 SI 261/2003

RISK EQUALISATION (AMENDMENT) SCHEME 2003 SI 710/2003

EC TREATY ART 3

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 47(2)

EC TREATY ART 55

EEC DIR 92/96

EEC DIR 92/49

PINE VALLEY DEVELOPMENTS LTD & ORS v MIN FOR ENVIRONMENT & ORS 1987 IR 23 1987 ILRM 747 1985/9/2700

GLENCAR EXPLORATIONS PLC & ANDAMAN RESOURCES PLC v MAYO CO COUNCIL (NO 2) 2002 1 IR 84

WADE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW 5TH ED 36

EC TREATY ART 10

TEDESCHI v DENKAVIT COMMERCIALE SRL CASE NO C-5/77 1977 ECR 1555 1978 1 CMLR 1

BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIB v PARANOVA A/S CASE NO C-427/93 1996 ECR I-3457

PYTHERON INTERNATIONAL SA v JEAN BOURDON SA CASE NO C-352/95 1997 ECR I-172

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 45

EEC DIR 92/49 ART 54

EEC DIR 92/49 ART 54(1)

EC TREATY ART 86(2)

FIDELITAS SHIPPING CO LTD v V/O EXPORTCHLEB 1966 2 AER 4 1965 2 WLR 1059 1966 1 QB 630 1965 1 LLOYDS REP 223

SWEENEY v BUS ATHA CLIATH (DUBLIN BUS) & ORS 2004 1 IR 576 2004/48/10954

DELLWAY INVESTMENTS LTD & ORS v NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NAMA) & ORS 2011 4 IR 1 2011/12/2745 2011 IESC 13

EMERALD MEATS LTD v MIN FOR AGRICULTURE & ORS 1997 1 IR 1 1997 2 ILRM 275 1997/8/ 2914

MAXWELL v MIN FOR AGRICULTURE 1999 2 IR 474 1999 1 ILRM 161 1998/26/10264 1998 IEHC 136

BYRNE v IRELAND & AG 1972 IR 241

MESKELL v CORAS IOMPAIR EIREANN 1973 IR 121

W v IRELAND & ORS (NO 2) 1997 2 IR 141 1998/10/3158

KENNEDY v IRELAND 1987 1 IR 587 1988 1 ILRM 472 1988/2/367

HERRITY v ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS (IRL) LTD 2009 1 IR 316 2008/28/6242 2008 IEHC 249

IARNROD EIREANN v IRELAND 1996 3 IR 321 1995 2 ILRM 161 1995/8/240

DREHER v IRISH LAND CMSN 1984 ILRM 94 1983/9/2469

LAWLOR v MIN FOR AGRICULTURE & ORS 1990 1 IR 356 1988 ILRM 400 1987/7/1798

O'CALLAGHAN v CMRS OF PUBLIC WORKS & AG 1985 ILRM 364 1984/8/2607

BUPA & ORS v COMMISSION CASE NO T-289/03 2008 ECR II-81

BLASCAOD MOR TEORANTA & ORS v CMRS OF PUBLIC WORKS IN IRELAND & ORS (NO 4) 2000 3 IR 565 2001 1 ILRM 423 2000/2/558

EC TREATY ART 288

TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ART 340

EC TREATY ART 235

TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ART 268

TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ART 4(3)

ASIA MOTOR FRANCE v COMMISSION CASE NO C-72/90 1991 ECR II-5357

BERGADERM & GROUPIL v COMMISSION CASE NO C-352/98 2000 ECR I-5291

BIOVILAC v EEC CASE NO CASE NO C-59/83 1984 ECR 4057 1987 2 CMLR 881

H N L v COUNCIL & COMMISSION CASE NO C-83/76 C-94/76 C-4/77 C-15/77 C-40/77 1978 ECR 1209

MEDICI GRIMM v COUNCIL CASE NO C-36403 2006 ECR II-81

HOLCIM v COMMISSON CASE NO T-28/03 2007 ECR I-2941 2007 4 CMLR 1090

DUMORTIER FRERES v COUNCIL CASE NO C-64/76 C-113/76 C-167/78 C-293/78 C-27/79 C-28/79 C-45/79 1979 ECR 3091

TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION ART 86(1)

CORBEAU, IN RE CASE NO C-320/91 1993 ECR I-2533 1995 4 CMLR 621

ALMELO & ORS v N v ENERGIEBEDRIJF IJSSELMIJ CASE NO C-393/92 1994 1994 ECR I-1477

MIN PUBLIC LUXEMBOURGEOIS v MULLER & ORS CASE NO C-10/71 14.7.1971

HOFNER & ELSER v MACROTRON GMBH CASE NO C-41/90 1991 ECR I-1979 1993 4 CMLR 306

KOBLER v REPUBLIK OSTERREICH CASE NO C-224/01 2003 ECR I-10239 2004 QB 848 2004 2 WLR 976

EUROPEAN LAW

Damages

Challenge to introduction of risk equalisation scheme in provision of medical health insurance cover - Supreme Court finding that scheme ultra vires power of Minister - Issues of liability and damages remitted to High Court for determination - Preliminary issues to be determined -Whether Supreme Court finding had effect of negating High Court findings on objective justification - Whether claimants entitled to recover damages in respect of losses - Appropriate measure in law to be applied in assessing quantum of damages - Pine Valley Developments Ltd v Minister for Environment [1987] IR 23; Glencar Explorations Plc v Mayo County Council (No 2) [2002] 1 IR 84; Tedeschi v Denkavit Commerciale Srl (Case No C-5/77) [1977] ECR 1555; Bristol-Myers Squib v Paranova A/S (Case No C-427/93) [1996] ECR I-3457; Pytheron International SA v Jean Bourdon SA (Case No C-352/95) [1997] ECR I-172; Fidelitas Shipping Company Ltd v V/O Exportchleb [1966] 2 All ER 4; Sweeney v Bus Atha Cliath [2004] 1 IR 576; Dellway Investments Ltd v National Asset Management Agency [2011] IESC 13, [2011] 4 IR 1; Emerald Meats Ltd v Minister for Agriculture [1997] 1 IR 1; Maxwell v Minister for Agriculture [1999] 2 IR 474; Byrne v Ireland [1972] IR 241; Meskell v Coras Iompair Eireann [1973] IR 121; W v Ireland (No 2 ) [1997] 2 IR 141; Kennedy v Ireland [1987] 1 IR 587; Herrity v Associated Newspapers (Irl) Ltd [2008] IEHC 249, [2009] 1 IR 316; Iarnrod Eireann v Ireland [1996] 3 IR 321; Dreher v Irish Land Commission [1984] ILRM 94; Lawlor v Minister for Agriculture [1990] 1 IR 356; O'Callaghan v Commissioners of Public Works [1985] ILRM 364; Bupa v Commission (Case No T-289/03) [2008] ECR II-81; Blascaod Mor Teoranta v Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland [2000] 3 IR 565; Asia Motor France v Commission (Case No CâÇö72/90) [1991] ECR II-5357; Bergaderm & Groupil v Commission (Case No C-352/98) [2000] ECR I-5291; Biovilac v EEC (Case no C-59/83) [1984] ECR 4057; HNL v Council (Case No C-83/76) [1978] ECR 1209; Medici Grimm v Council (Case No C-36403) [2006] ECR II-81; Holcim v Commission (Case No T-28/03) [2007] ECR I-2941; Dumortier Freres v Council (Case No C-64/76) [1979] ECR 3091; In re Corbeau (Case No C-320/91) [1993] ECR I-2533; Almelo v N (Case No C-393/92) [1994] ECR I-1477; Minister Public Luxembourgeois v Muller (Case No C-10/71); Hofner v Macrotron GmBh (Case No C-41/90) [1991] ECR I-1979 and Kobler v Republik Osterreich (Case No C-224/01) [2003] ECR I-10239 considered - Constitution of Ireland 1937, Arts 40.3.2 and 43 - Health Insurance Act 1994 (No 16), ss 2, 7 and 12 - Risk Equalisation Scheme 2003 (SI 261/2003) - Risk Equalisation (Amendment) Scheme 2003 (SI 710/2003) - Treaty on European Union, arts 43, 49. 82 and 86 - Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, arts 4, 268 and 340 - Finding that statutory instruments rendered void but claim for damages could not be maintained (2005/532JR - Cooke J - 7/3/2013) [2013] IEHC 103

Bupa Ireland Limited v Health Insurance Authority

Facts: The High Court in 2006 had dismissed a challenge by way of judicial review to the risk equalisation scheme in the provision of medical health insurance cover. The scheme had introduced a scheme of inter-generational solidarity pursuant to the Health Insurance Act of 1994, as amended. The High Court had found the scheme to be intra vires the power of the Minister. On appeal, the Supreme Court had held the scheme to be ultra vires the Minister, finding that the only scheme authorised under the Act was a risk equalisation scheme based upon the within the plan concept of community rating.

Held by Cooke J. that the effect of the Supreme Court judgement and order quashing the scheme as ultra vires was to render the statutory instruments void ab initio. The result had the effect that the findings of the High Court could not be regarded as tenable. The interpretation of community rating had been found to be mistaken by the Supreme Court. There was, however, no entitlement to damages arising on account of a mistaken interpretation of national and European Union law. It was thus unnecessary to consider how damages might be quantified

Introduction
1

1. On the 23 rd day of November, 2006, the Court (McKechnie J.) gave a judgment dismissing the claims originally advanced in this judicial review proceeding, which had sought to challenge the introduction by the respondent Minister of a risk equalisation scheme (the "2003 Scheme"), in the provision of medical health insurance cover by insurers operating in that sector of the market in the State, under a series of statutory instruments made pursuant to the Health Insurance Acts 1994-2001.

2

2. The judgment and order of the Court were appealed by the applications to the Supreme Court. No notice under Order 58 Rule 10 of the Rules of the Superior Courts was given by the respondents of an intention to contend that such of the findings in that judgment as might have been considered to have rejected positions adopted by them at the High Court hearing should be varied. (The references below to the "respondents" relate to the second and third named respondents, except where otherwise stated, as they alone are concerned in the claim for damages. The Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI) had been a party to the proceedings, but was discharged from them following the Supreme Court judgment.)

3

3. In the High Court proceedings, a series of declaratory reliefs had been claimed directed at the alleged illegality of the 2003 Scheme as thus introduced. In essence, the claims alleged that the scheme was unlawful in that, inter alia, it infringed Articles 40.32° and 43 of the Constitution; the provisions of the Third Non-Life Directed; and Articles 43, 49, 82 and 86 EC of the European Treaties.

4

4. Although no order of certiorari to quash the statutory instruments in question was originally sought in the judicial review proceedings, a declaration had been claimed that they were uhra vires the relevant statutory provisions, together with (amongst other...

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