Campus Oil Ltd v Minister for Industry and Energy (no 2)

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeO'Higgins C.J.,Walsh J.,Hederman J.
Judgment Date01 January 1984
Docket Number[1982 No. 9256P],[S.C. No. 19 of 1983]
Date01 January 1984
Campus Oil v. Minister for Industry
Campus Oil Limited and Others
Plaintiffs
and
Minister for Industry and Energy and Others
Defendants
[S.C. No. 19 of 1983]

Supreme Court

Constitution - Courts - Jurisdiction - Supreme Court - Appellate jurisdiction - Exception - Interpretation of Treaty of Rome - High Court requesting Court of Justice of the European Communities to give ruling - No appeal to Supreme Court from decision of High Court to make request - European Communities Act, 1972 (No. 27), ss. 1, 2 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Article 34 - Treaty of Rome, 1957, Article 177.

The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to determine appeals from decisions of the High Court, conferred by Article 34, s. 4, sub-s. 3, of the Constitution, does not include jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from a determination made by a judge of the High Court, in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on him by Article 177 of the Treaty of Rome, to request the Court of Justice of the European Communities to rule upon the interpretation of a provision of that Treaty.

So held by the Supreme Court (O'Higgins C.J., Walsh and Hederman JJ.).

O'Higgins C.J.
1

17 June 1983

2

I am aware of the statement of reasons about to be read by Mr. Justice Walsh, and I agree with it.

Walsh J
3

On the 1st September, 1982, the plaintiffs commenced proceedings against the defendants seeking declarations to the effect that the provisions of the Fuels (Control of Supplies) Order, 1982, made under the Fuels (Control of Supplies) Acts, 1971 and 1982, are inconsistent with the provisions of the Treaty of Rome and, in particular, with the provisions of articles 30, 31, 92 and 93 of the Treaty. By a notice of motion of the same date the plaintiffs claimed an interlocutory injunction to restrain the defendants from implementing all or any of the provisions of the order of 1982. An application for an interlocutory injunction was refused by the High Court on the 13th September, 1982. Subsequently the plaintiffs' statement of claim was delivered, as was the defence of the defendants and the reply of the plaintiffs thereto.

4

The learned judge of the High Court, Mr. Justice Murphy, formed the opinion that the action raised a question of the interpretation of the Treaty of Rome, and he formed the opinion that a decision on that aspect of the case was necessary to enable him to decide the action before him. He informed the parties of his intention to seek a decision from the Court of Justice of the European Communities on the interpretation of the relevant articles of the Treaty pursuant to the provisions 1 of article 177 of the Treaty. All the defendants submitted to him that it was not necessary to refer any question to the Court of Justice at Luxembourg or, in the alternative, that it was premature to do so. The learned High Court judge rejected that view and maintained his intention to request a decision of the Court of Justice as to the proper interpretation of articles 30, 31 and 36 of the Treaty. For the purposes of this judgment it is unnecessary to set out the precise wording 2 of the questions raised by the judge for decision by the Court of Justice. They are to be found in the schedule to what purports to be the order of the judge dated the 9th December, 1982.

5

By a notice of appeal to this Court dated the 26th January, 1983, the first three defendants sought an order from this Court discharging or setting

aside the order referring the questions to the Court of Justice. On the 25th February, 1983, the matter came before this Court and we heard arguments from counsel for all the parties on the question of whether or not an appeal lies to this Court against the reference made by Mr. Justice Murphy to the Court of Justice at Luxembourg. The Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that no such appeal lies and that, therefore, the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain any such...

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