Curtin v Dáil Éireann

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMurray C.J.
Judgment Date09 March 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] IESC 14
Date09 March 2006
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number[S.C. Nos. 198 and 203 of 2005]

[2006] IESC 14

THE SUPREME COURT

Murray C.J.

Denham J.

McGuinness J.

Hardiman J.

Geoghegan J.

Fennelly J.

McCracken J.

198/05
203/05
CURTIN v CLERK OF DAIL EIREANN & ORS
JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN:

BRIAN CURTIN
Applicant/Appellant

and

CLERK OF DÁIL ÉIREANN, CLERK OF SEANAD ÉIREANN, DEPUTY DENIS O'DONOVAN, DEPUTY JERRY CROWLEY, DEPUTY JAMES O'KEEFE, DEPUTY JAN O'SULLIVAN, SENATOR JOHN DARDIS, SENATOR GERALDINE FEENEY, SENATOR MICHAEL FINUCANE and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Respondents

CONSTITUTION ART 35.4.1

CHILD TRAFFICKING & PORNOGRAPHY ACT 1998 S6

CHILD TRAFFICKING & PORNOGRAPHY ACT 1998 S7(2)

INTERPRETATION ACT 1937 S11

DPP v KENNY 1990 2 IR 110

THE COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1924 S39

CHILD TRAFFICKING & PORNOGRAPHY ACT 1998 S7

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) (AMENDMENT) ACT 2004

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3(4)

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3(1)

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3A

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3A(a)

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3A(b

CHILD TRAFFICKING & PORNOGRAPHY (AMDT) ACT 2004 S1

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES & IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 63A

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 63A(2)

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 60A

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S3(1)(c)

CONSTITUTION ART 35.2

CONSTITUTION SAORSTAT EIREANN 1922 ART 68

ACT OF SETTLEMENT 1701

CONSTITUTION ART 12.10

CURTIN v DAIL EIREANN & ORS UNREP HIGH COURT SMYTH 3.5.2005

DPP v O'SHEA 1982 IR 384

TORMEY v IRELAND 1985 IR 289 1985 ILRM 375

RIORDAN v TANAISTE 1997 3 IR 502 1998 1 ILRM 494

SINNOTT v MIN FOR EDUCATION & ORS 2001 2 IR 545

DPP v S(M) 2003 1 IR 606

CONSTITUTION SAORSTAT EIREANN 1922 ART 73

CONSTITUTION ART 50

MELLING v MACMATHGHAMHNA 1962 IR 1

MAGUIRE & ORS v ARDAGH & ORS (OIREACHTAS JOINT COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE) [ABBEYLARA CASE] 2002 1 IR 385

MOONEY v AN POST 1998 4 IR 288 1994 ELR 103

NIXON v UNITED STATES 1993 506 US 224 1993 122 LED 3DL 1993 113 SCT 732

CONSTITUTION ART 15.10

O'BYRNE v MIN FOR FINANCE 1959 IR 1

GOODMAN INTERNATIONAL v HAMILTON & ORS 1992 2 IR 542

CONSTITUTION ART 35

CONSTITUTION ART 15.4

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S4(1)

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S11(1)

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S6

CONSTITUTION ART 40.5

CONSTITUTION ART 40.3

AG, PEOPLE v O'BRIEN 1965 IR 142

TRIMBOLE v GOVERNOR OF MOUNTJOY PRISON 1985 ILRM 465 1985 IR 550

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S30

BULA LTD v TARA MINES LTD 1994 1 ILRM 111

CHILD TRAFFICKING & PORNOGRAPHY (AMDT) ACT 2004 S13

DPP v KENNY 1990 2 IR 110 1990 ILRM 569

LYNCH v AG 2004 1 ILRM 129

DPP v COONEY 1997 IR 129 1998 1 ILRM 321

DPP v BUCK 2002 2 IR 268 2002 2 ILRM 454

CONSTITUTION SAORSTAT EIREANN 1922 ART 68

THE COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1924 S39

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S48

CONSTITUTION ART 42.4

STATE (HEALY) v DONOGHUE 1976 IR 325

CONSTITUTION ART 15.11.1

COMMISSIONS & SALARIES OF JUDGES ACT 1760 1 GEO 3 C23

COURTS ACT 1781-82 21 & 22 GEO 3 C50 S3

STATUTE LAW REVISION (PRE-UNION IRISH STATUTES) ACT 1962

SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE (IRL) ACT 1877 (40 & 42 VICT C57)

SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE ACT 1875 (38 & 39 VICT C77)

CONSTITUTION ACT 1867 S99 (CANADA) (BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT 1867 30 VICT C3 S99)

CONSTITUTION OF AUSTRALIA (1900) C3 S72

SOUTH AFRICA ACT 1909 (9 EDW 7 C9)

CONSTITUTION SAORSTAT EIREANN 1922 ART 35.4.1

WILLIAMS THE HISTORICAL & CONSTITUTIONAL BASES OF THE SENATE'S POWER TO USE MASTERS OR COMMITTEES TO RECEIVE EVIDENCE IN IMPEACHMENT TRIALS 1975 50 NYU LAW REVIEW 512

CONSTITUTION ART 6

CONSTITUTION ART 34.1

CONSTITUTION ART 34.3.2

CONSTITUTION ART 26

CONSTITUTION ART 34

CONSTITUTION ART 35.3

BUCKLEY v AG 1950 IR 67

D (T) & ORS v MIN FOR EDUCATION & ORS 2001 4 IR 259

PIGS MARKETING BOARD v DONNELLY 1939 IR 413

MCDONALD v BORD NA GCON 1965 IR 217

EAST DONEGAL CO-OPERATIVE v AG 1970 IR 317

KAVANAGH v IRELAND 1996 1 IR 321 1996 1 ILRM 133

CONSTITUTION ART 15.10

O'MALLEY v CEANN COMHAIRLE 1997 1 IR 427

CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES ART 1 S5

UNITED STATES v BALLIN 1892 144 US 1 12 SCT 507

CONSTITUTION ART 15.11

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 63A PARA 5

HAUGHEY, IN RE 1971 IR 217

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 63A PARA 8

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 63A PARA 9

SAUNDERS v UNITED KINGDOM 1997 23 EHRR 313

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ART 6

SCHMERBER v CALIFORNIA 1966 384 US 757

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (COMPELLABILITY, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF WITNESSES) ACT 1997 S6(2)

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:

Judiciary

Removal from office - Resolution of Oireachtas - Judicial independence - Separation of powers - Deference by courts to another organ of State - Standard which court measured failure by organ of State to comply with constitutional obligations - Judge as witness to Oireachtas committee - Statutory power to call judge as witness to Oireachtas committee - Constitutional interpretation - Presumption of constitutionality - Parliamentary procedures - Whether statute unconstitutional - Whether parliamentary procedures presumed to be constitutional - Whether Oireachtas had power to call judge as witness - Whether power to call judge as witness constitutional - Whether resort may be had to principles derived from other parts of Constitution for constitutional interpretation - Resolution for removal of judge - Fair procedures - Form of report of committee - Direction from committee - Privilege against self incrimination - Possession - Whether Oireachtas could adopt standing orders to establish sub-committee to receive evidence - Whether committee could direct production of prima facie unlawful material - Whether direction constitutional - Whether direction violated privilege against self incrimination - Whether âÇÿthing' under privilege against self incrimination - People v O'Shea [1982] IR 384; Sinnott v Minister for Education [2001]2 IR 545; State (Healy) v Donoghue [1976] IR 325; Goodman International v Mr Justice Hamilton [1992] 2 IR 542; Buckley and others (Sinn Féin) v AG [1950] IR 67; TD v Minister for Education [2001] 4 IR 259; East Donegal Co-Operative Livestock Mart Ltd v AG [1970] IR 317; McDonald v Bord na gCon [1965] IR 217 and Pigs Marketing Board v Donnelly (Dublin) Ltd [1939] IR 413 considered - Maguire v Ardagh [2002] 1 IR 385 distinguished - Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) (Amendment) Act 2004 (No 16) - Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act 1997 (No 17), s 3A - Constitution of Ireland 1937 , Articles 15.10 and 35.4.1 - Relief refused (198 & 203/2005 - SC - 9/3/2006)[2006] IESC 14, [2006] 2 IR 556; [2006] 2 ILRM 99 Curtin v Clerk of Dáil Éireann

The court was asked to interpret the provisions of Article 35.4.1 of the Constitution regarding the parliamentary procedure for the removal of judges from office.

Held by the Supreme Court (Murray CJ; Denham; McGuinness; Hardiman; Fennelly and McCrackenJJ) that the appeal would be allowed and the order of the High Court affirmed.

Reporter: R.W.

Index
Page
1

1. Introduction 1

2

2. Facts: Prosecution and Acquittal 1

3

3. Initiation of steps for removal: correspondence 3

4

4. Legislative Changes 7

5

5. Proceedings in the Oireachtas 9

6

6. Proceedings of the Joint Committee 14

7

7. Leave to Apply for Judicial Review 18

8

8. High Court proceedings 20

9

9. The High Court Judgment 21

10

10. The Appeal: the Appellant's case 23

11

11. Constitutionality of section 3A: submissions 25

12

12. Direction by Committee: Section 3 1997 Act: submissions 26

13

13. Article 35.4 of the Constitution 31

14

14. General principles of constitutional interpretation 34

15

15. History 38

16

16. Consideration of Article 35.4.1 45

17

17. Judicial Independence 45

18

18. Separation of powers 49

19

19. Constitutional justice; Fair procedures 58

20

20. Constitutionality of section 3A of 1997 Act 59

21

21. Conclusion on interpretation of Article 35.4.1 61

22

22. Conclusion on section 3 order 72

23

23. Double jeopardy 79

24

24. Conclusion 80

In this appeal, the Court is asked to interpret the provisions of Article 35.4.1 of the Constitution regarding the parliamentary procedure for the removal of judges from office. It is one of the few occasions in the annals of legal history that such a proposal has been considered by a court and the first time since the foundation of the State.

Facts: Prosecution and Acquittal

The Appellant was appointed as a judge of the Circuit Court in November 2001.

On 20th May 2002, the President of the District Court issued a warrant for the search of the Appellant's dwelling house. The warrant recited the information on oath of a Sergeant of An...

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