O'Donoghue v The Veterinary Council

CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date01 January 1975
Date01 January 1975
Docket Number[1974 No. 21 P]
O'Donoghue v. Veterinary Council
In the Matter of the Veterinary Surgeons Acts
Sean O'Donoghue, Petitioner, and The Veterinary Council
[1974 No. 21 P]

High Court

Tribunal - Natural justice - Professional discipline - Inquiry - Member of professional council acting as complainant - Member also adjudicating upon conduct of accused - Decision of council set aside - Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1931 (No. 36), s. 36.

A committee of the respondent council held an inquiry during which they investigated the conduct of the petitioner, a veterinary surgeon, and reported thereon to the respondent council. Having considered the report, the respondent council found that the petitioner had been guilty of conduct disgraceful to him in a professional respect, and the council decided that for a period of six months the registration of the petitioner's name on a register of veterinary surgeons should not have any effect. A member of the respondent council had allowed his name to be used as complainant at the inquiry held by the committee, and the same member had been one of the group of members of the respondent council which had considered the committee's report and had made the decision affecting the registration of the petitioner's name. On appeal by the petitioner to the High Court, it was

Held by Kenny J., in cancelling the decision of the respondent council, that there had been a breach of the rule that no person should act as a judge in his own cause, notwithstanding the fact that the particular member of the respondent council had been a prosecutor or complainant in name only.

Dimes v. Grand Junction Canal, 3 H.L. Cas. 759 and Leeson v. GeneralMedical Council, 43 Ch.D. 366 considered.


On the 2nd January, 1974, the petitioner presented a petition in the High Court pursuant to Order 95 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, 1962, by way of appeal under s. 36 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1931. The petitioner sought the cancellation of a decision made by the respondent council on the 18th December, 1973. The respondent council is a body corporate with perpetual succession, and consists of eight members elected in the manner provided by the Act of 1931: see section 3. The petition was heard and determined by Kenny J. on the 27th June, 1974.

Kenny J.

Before the year 1931 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (which I shall call "the College") was the authority which exercised jurisdiction over the education and registration of veterinary surgeons and the investigation of complaints against them for professional misconduct. The Governments of Britain and Northern Ireland and of the Irish Free State made an agreement under which there were to be two registers—the General Veterinary Register which was that maintained by the College, and the Register of Veterinary Surgeons for Ireland (which I shall call "the Register"). A person registered on the General Veterinary Register or on the Register could, subject to certain conditions, be registered on the other. It also made provision for the investigation of complaints of disgraceful conduct against a veterinary surgeon. This agreement was confirmed by the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1931. This established a Veterinary Council (which I shall call "the Council") and made provision for the appointment of its members and for the establishment of the Register.

Section 35 of the Act of 1931, so far as relevant to this action, reads:—

"(1) Whenever a person who is registered in the register and is not registered in the general veterinary register is alleged to have been guilty of conduct disgraceful to him in a professional respect, the Council may itself hold or may appoint a committee of not less than three of its members to hold an inquiry into the conduct of such person . . .

  • (3) Whenever the Council appoints under either of the foregoing subsections of this section a committee to hold an inquiry into the conduct of any person, such committee shall hold such inquiry accordingly and shall report thereon to the Council."

Section 36 of the Act of 1931 (as a result of s. 2 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1960) now reads:—

"(1) Where the Council as the result of an inquiry held by it under this Act into the conduct of a person alleged to have been guilty of conduct disgraceful to him in a professional respect or, as the result of the report of a committee . . . appointed by the Council under this Act to hold an inquiry into the conduct of any such person, finds that such person was guilty of conduct disgraceful to him in a professional respect, the Council may, by a resolution in favour of which not less than six members of the Council vote, decide either that the name of such person should be erased from the register or that during a period of specified duration registration of his name in the register should not have effect . . .

(5) A person to whom a decision under this section of the Council relates may, within the period of fourteen days beginning on the date of the decision, apply to the High Court for cancellation of the decision, and if he so applies—

  • (a) the High Court, on the hearing of the application, may either—

    • (i) cancel the decision, or

    • (ii) declare that it was proper for the Council to make a decision under this section in relation to such person and either (as the Court may consider proper) direct the Council to erase his name from the register or direct that during a specified period (beginning not earlier than seven days after the decision of the Court) registration of his name in the register shall not have effect . . ."

Another agreement between the government of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was made in 1949 and this was confirmed by the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1952. It provided that the Government might by order reconstitute the Council.

The petitioner was registered on the Register in 1968. On the 28th February, 1973, the secretary of the Council wrote to him stating that she had been directed by the Council to place before him certain information furnished to the Council by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The information was that on the 28th June, 1972, 449 blood samples from a herd...

To continue reading

Request your trial
38 cases
  • Hygeia Chemicals Ltd v Irish Medicines Board
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 4 May 2005
    ...Irish Land Commission [1977] IR317; Frenchurch Properties Ltd v Wexford County Council [1992] 2 IR 268; O'Donoghue v Veterinary Council [1975] IR398 and O'Neill v Irish Hereford Breeds Society Ltd [1992] 1 IR 431 considered -Radio Limerick One Ltd v Independent Radio and Television Commi......
  • W.F. v Fitness to Practise Committee of The Medical Council
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 15 February 2008
    ...KIRBY 1994 1 IR 374 O'CALLAGHAN v DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL & ORS 2002 1 IR 1 2002 1 ILRM 89 2001/18/5106 O'DONOGHUE v VETERINARY COUNCIL 1975 IR 398 PROFESSIONS Medical profession Disciplinary proceedings - Doctor - Fitness to practise inquiry - Applicant previously refused leave for judicia......
  • Chestvale Properties Ltd v Glackin
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 January 1993
  • Browne (Inspector of Taxes) v Bank of Ireland Finance Ltd
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 8 February 1991
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT