Dellway Investment Ltd and Others v National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and Others

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeMurray C.J.,Denham J.,Mr. Justice Hardiman,Mr. Justice Fennelly,Macken, J.,Mr Justice Finnegan
Judgment Date12 April 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] IESC 14,[2011] IESC 4
Docket Number396/10,[2010 Nos. 909 JR & 222 COM and S.C. No. 396 of 2010]
Date12 April 2011
Dellway Investments Ltd & Ors v National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) & Ors

BETWEEN

DELLWAY INVESTMENTS LIMITED, METROSPA LIMITED, BERKLEY PROPERTIES LIMITED, MAGINOTGRANGE LIMITED, MAY PROPERTY HOLDINGS LIMITED, SCI 20 PLACE VENDOME, DIRECTDIVIDE TRADING LIMITED, SUBMITQUEST LIMITED, BELFAST OFFICE PROPERTIES LIMITED, THE FORGE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, FINBROOK INVESTMENTS LIMITED, CONNIS PROPERTY SERVICES LIMITED, FORMCREST CONSTRUCTION LIMITED, CHESTERFIELD (THE PAVEMENTS) SUBSIDIARY LIMITED, ABEY DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED AND PATRICK MCKILLEN
APPLICANTS / APPELLANTS
-V-
NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY, IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
RESPONDENTS

[2011] IESC 14

Murray C.J.

Denham J.

Hardiman J.

Fennelly J.

Macken J.

Finnegan J.

McKechnie J.

396/10

THE SUPREME COURT

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

Fair procedures

Right to be heard - Property rights - Proportionality - Whether rights affected - Meaning of property rights - Equity of redemption - Vesting orders - Whether position of NAMA similar to that of traditional mortgagee - Whether decision amounted to interference or potential interference with constitutionally protected rights - Right to earn livelihood - Contractual rights - Damage to reputation - Land and Conveyancing Reform Act 2009 (No 27), ss 92 and 96 - National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 (No 34), ss 7, 69, 80, 84, 87, 101, 103, 139, 145, 152, 153 and 155 - Constitution of Ireland 1937, Articles 40.3.2 and 43 - European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 - Appeal allowed (396/2010 - SC - 12/4/2011) [2011] IESC 14

Dellway Investments Ltd v National Asset Management Agency

LAND LAW

Mortgage

Equity of redemption - Foreclosure - Vesting order - Duty on mortgagee - Best price - Whether position of NAMA similar to that of traditional mortgagee - Land and Conveyancing Reform Act 2009 (No 27), ss 92 and 96 - National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 (No 34), ss 7, 69, 80, 84, 87, 101, 103, 139, 145, 152, 153 and 155 - appeal allowed (396/2010 - SC - 12/4/2011) [2011] IESC 14

Dellway Investments Ltd v National Asset Management Agency

STATUTE LAW

Interpretation

National Asset Management Agency - Decision to acquire loans - Timing - Decision made prior to establishment of Agency - Whether decision capable of subsequent ratification - Exercise of discretion - Relevant considerations - Whether obligation to take certain factors into account -Whether absence of criteria for exercise of discretion - Presumption of constitutionality - Whether definition of eligible asset sufficiently precise - Whether loans impaired - Whether scheme permitted transfer of loans notwithstanding contention that loans were not impaired - National Treasury Management Agency Act 1990 (No 18), s 4 - Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 (No 18) - Interpretation Act 2005 (No 23), s 17 - National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 (No 34 ), ss 4, 69, 84 and 87 - National Asset Management Agency (Establishment Day) Order 2009 (SI 547/2009) - National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 (Commencement) Order 2009 (SI 545/2009) - National Asset Management Agency (Designation of Eligible Assets) Regulations 2009 (SI 568/2009), reg 2 - Appeal allowed (396/2010 - SC - 12/4/2011) [2011] IESC 14

Dellway Investments Ltd v National Asset Management Agency

Facts: On 3 February 2011, the Supreme Court declared invalid and of no effect a purported decision of the respondent agency to acquire from particular banks certain eligible assets. On the same date, the Supreme Court dismissed a ground of appeal where the appellants had claimed that the statutory scheme established by the National Management Agency Act 2009 enabling the respondent, NAMA, to acquire eligible bank assets was unlawful as being contrary to EU State Aid law. The Court heard submissions as to two outstanding issues and whether the appeal was moot. The Court was asked whether s. 69 of the Act of 2009 was unconstitutional in so far as the meaning accorded to an "eligible bank asset" was overboard and whether the powers conferred on NAMA pursuant to s. 84 of the Act of 2009 to exercise in its discretion the acquisition of an eligible bank asset had to be construed in accordance with constitutional justice to grant them the right to make representations.

Held by the Supreme Court per Murray C.J. (Denham, Hardiman, Fennelly, Macken, Finnegan, McKechnie JJ. Concurring), that the appellants would succeed on this aspect of the appeal. If the State were to succeed in its argument to the effect that the Act of 2009 prohibiting NAMA from giving consideration to representations, it would be denying the very essence of the right to a hearing. The appellants were entitled to a declaration that they should be duly informed by NAMA of any intention to consider making a decision to acquire any eligible bank asset related to their credit facilities with participating banks so as to afford them an opportunity of making appropriate representations concerning such a proposed decision. Per Denham J.: An order under s. 84 could affect the rights of the appellants in that it might restrict their right to trade or to enjoy some benefit contracted for so as to require s. 84 of the Act of 2009 to conform to constitutional justice. Per Finnegan J.: that NAMA would make decisions which were commercially advantageous for it to exercise its rights as mortgagee and recover the amount paid by it to acquire the loans so as to afford the appellants the right to be heard. Per Macken J.: That the effects of an acquisition decision affecting the property rights and altered the contractual rights and interests of the appellants quo borrower such as to warrant the right to make representations in respect of the acquisition. Per Fennelly J.: The appellants had the right to be heard in respect of the acquisition decision as to their loans but not to make representations concerning other considerations.

Reporter: E.F.

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S69

INTERPRETATION ACT 2005 S17

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY (DESIGNATION OF ELIGIBLE BANK ASSETS) REGS 2009 SI 568/2009 REG 2

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84(1)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84(4)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84(5)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S87

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S103

IRWIN v DEASY UNREP SUPREME 14.5.2010 2010 IESC 35

EAST DONEGAL CO-OPERATIVE LIVESTOCK MART LTD & ORS v AG 1970 IR 317

FUREY, STATE v MIN FOR DEFENCE & AG 1988 ILRM 89 1984/2/408

CONSTITUTION ART 40

RYAN v AG 1965 IR 294

IRISH PHARMACEUTICAL UNION, STATE v EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL 1987 ILRM 36 1986/3/972

MCDONALD v BORD NA GCON & AG 1965 IR 217

FLANAGAN v UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN 1988 IR 724 1989 ILRM 469 1988/8/2214

DOUPE v LIMERICK CO COUNCIL & O'CONNOR 1981 ILRM 456

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

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FLYNN v ALLEN & HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF KINGS INNS; FLYNN v GOGARTY & ORS UNREP LYNCH 2.5.1988 1988/4/1107

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NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 PART VII CHAP 1

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S87(3)

SNELL & ORS PRINCIPLES OF EQUITY 27ED 1973 378

BYRNE & MCENTAGART THE NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009: ANNOTATIONS & COMMENTARY 2010 304

LAND & CONVEYANCING LAW REFORM ACT 2009 S107(2)

LAND & CONVEYANCING LAW REFORM ACT 2009 S96

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ANTRIM COUNTY LAND BUILDING & INVESTMENT CO LTD & HEUSTON v STEWART 1904 2 IR 357

HAPGOOD & ORS PAGETS LAW OF BANKING 13ED 2007 820

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84(4)(C)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84(4)(H)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S84(4)(K)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S10

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S192

CREDIT INSTITUTIONS (FINANCIAL SUPPORT) SCHEME 2008 SI 411/2008

CREDIT INSTITUTIONS (STABILISATION) ACT 2010

FINANCIAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST ACT 2010

CREDIT INSTITUTIONS (FINANCIAL SUPPORT) ACT 2008 S6(1)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S70

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S69(2)(D)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S69(2)(A)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT 2009 S69(2)(B)

NATIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY (DESIGNATION OF ELIGIBLE BANK ASSETS) REGS 2009 SI 568/2009 REG 2(A)(i)

NEW SHORTER OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY 1993

KHAN v HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE UNREP MCMAHON 2008/33/7254 2008 IEHC 234

CARNA FOODS LTD & MALLON v EAGLE STAR INSURANCE CO (IRL) LTD 1995 1 IR 526 1995 2 ILRM 474 1995/16/4172

CLARKE v DISTRICT JUDGE HOGAN & DPP 1995 1 IR 310 1995/6/1935

PHILPOTT, STATE v REGISTRAR OF TITLES 1986 ILRM 499 1985/9/2684

GARVEY v IRELAND & ORS 1981 IR 75 1979 113 ILTR 61

HOGAN & WHYTE JM KELLY: THE IRISH CONSTITUTION 4ED 2003 PARA 6.1.52

HOGAN NATURAL & CONSTITUTIONAL JUSTICE - ADIEU TO LAISSEZ-FAIRE 1984 19(2) IJNS 309

CASEY CONSTITUTIONAL LAW IN IRELAND 3ED 2000

CONSTITUTION ART 40.3

COX v IRELAND & ORS 1992 2 IR 503

SOPROPE - ORGANIZACOES DE CALCADO LDA v FAZENDA PUBLICA 2008 ECR I-10369 2009 2 CMLR 5

CONSTITUTION ART 28

HOGAN & ORS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW IN IRELAND 4ED 2010 718

WOOLF & ORS DE SMITHS JUDICIAL REVIEW 6ED 2007 CHAP 8

O CEALLAIGH v BORD ALTRANAIS 2000 4 IR 54 2000/2/648

K (D) v JUDGE CROWLEY & ORS 2002 2 IR 744 2003 1 ILRM 88 2002/14/3380

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 1996 S4(3)

HOGAN & ORS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW IN IRELAND 4ED 2010 PARA 14.249

HOGAN & ORS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW IN IRELAND 4ED 2010 PARA 14.245

HOGAN & ORS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW IN IRELAND 4ED 2010 708

GORMAN & ORS v MIN FOR ENVIRONMENT & ORS 2001 2 IR 414 2001/11/2930

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