Byrne v Hughes

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Judgment Date18 Apr 1925
Docket Number(1925. No. 1914.)

Supreme Court.

(1925. No. 1914.)
Byrne v. Hughes.
MARY JOSEPHINE BYRNE and ANNA PHILOMENA BYRNE
Plaintiffs
and
ELLEN HUGHES, Defendant (1)

Practice - Transfer of action - Action commenced in High Court - Transfer to Circuit Court - Whether action could have been commenced in Circuit Court - Absence of Rules and Forms for procedure in Circuit Court - Equitable and Common Law claims combined - Part of claim exceeding jurisdiction of Circuit Court - Striking out part of claim - Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10 of 1924), sects. 25 and 48 (iii).

Appeal from an order of Meredith J., dated the 17th February, 1925, refusing to transfer the action for trial to the Circuit Judge of the City and County of Dublin.

Plaintiffs were the occupiers of the premises, No. 40 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin. Defendant was the owner of the premises, Nos. 38, 39, and 40 Lower Gardiner Street. Defendant had let No. 40 to the plaintiffs under a contract of tenancy whereby she was bound to execute necessary repairs. During the recent disturbances in Dublin all three houses were damaged, and the plaintiffs as a consequence had to expend the sum of £73 1s. upon necessary repairs to the house occupied by them (No. 40), and they alleged that a further sum of £48 10s. would have to be expended upon it for repairs. Defendant lodged a claim for compensation for the damage occasioned to her three houses, and was awarded a lump sum of £1,000 as compensation for the three.

Plaintiffs instituted proceedings in the High Court claiming (1) a declaration that the defendant was a trustee for the plaintiffs of the said sum of £73 1s. (2) Payment by the defendant of the said sum of £73 1s. with interest thereon at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum from the date of payment to the defendant of the said sum of £1,000. (3) In the alternative, payment by the defendant of the sum of £73 1s., money received by the defendant for the use of the plaintiffs. (4) In the further alternative, payment by the defendant of the sum of £73 1s., money paid by the plaintiffs for the defendant at her request. (5) A declaration that the defendant was bound to expend the said sum of £48 10s. upon repairs to the house, No. 40 Lower Gardiner Street. (6) In the alternative, damages for breach by the defendant of her agreement to expend the said sum of £48 10s. upon such repairs. (7) In the further alternative, damages for breach by the defendant of her agreement to repair and keep in repair the said house. (8) A declaration that the said sums of £73 1s. and £48 10s. with interest as aforesaid were well charged in favour of the plaintiffs upon the interest of the defendant in the said houses, Nos. 38, 39, and 40 Lower Gardiner Street. (9) That such charge might be enforced by a sale, or a receiver, or both, as the Court might direct. (10), (11), and (12) Necessary accounts and inquiries, further relief, and costs.

The defendant applied to Meredith J. to have the action transferred to the Circuit Court under sect. 25 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10 of 1924). The plaintiffs resisted the application on the ground that there was no procedure in existence whereby the action "might have been commenced in the Circuit Court" as required by that section. And that although the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court was much wider than that of the former County Court, no Rules or Forms had been prescribed as provided by sect. 66 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, enabling litigants to avail themselves of the extended jurisdiction, consequently the procedure was still that of the former County Court, under which this action could not be brought, having regard to the relief claimed by the plaintiffs. Meredith J. refused the application, and from his order the defendant appealed to the Supreme Court.

Plaintiffs commenced an action in the High Court which could not have been commenced in, or remitted to the former County Court, but which...

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