Extending Appeal Deadlines

Author:Mr Gearóid Carey
Profession:Matheson
 
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Introduction

An appeal to the Supreme Court from a High Court decision must be lodged within 21 days of perfection of the order. A recent case considered the basis on which the period may be extended to facilitate an appeal and offered additional guidance in the area. Goode Concrete v CRH plc1 arose out of protracted contentious and difficult litigation involving the concrete industry in Ireland, in which the defendants and respondents were alleged to have engaged in anti-competitive behaviour to the detriment of the plaintiff and appellant.

Background

The Supreme Court considered three separate but closely connected applications on behalf of Goode, seeking a time extension within which to appeal three separate orders made by the High Court, each order being the subject of a written judgment. The first was delivered on January 20 2011 and related to the refusal of an interlocutory injunction sought by Goode. The second was delivered on March 21 2012 and involved a decision to direct security for costs against Goode. The third, delivered on May 15 2012, related to fixing the terms of the security to be provided, both its amount and phasing. The formal orders arising out of each judgment were perfected on February 2 2011, May 8 2012 and May 17 2012. However, no attempt to bring an appeal to the Supreme Court was made in respect of any order until December 11 2012, being many months after the perfection of the various orders. Regarding the 21-day period under the rules, the appeals were out of time by a significant margin. Having heard argument, the Supreme Court gave an ex tempore immediate ruling extending the period to file the appeals on limited bases and gave directions to ensure an early hearing of the appeal, with reasons to follow. In October 2013, the reasons underlying the ruling were set out in a written judgment.

In each of the appeals there was one common ground which centred on an allegation of a reasonable apprehension of objective bias on the part of the trial judge arising out of a shareholding that the trial judge held in CRH. Before embarking on any contentious aspect of the proceedings, the trial judge had indicated to the parties that he had a shareholding in CRH and no party objected to him continuing to hear the matter. Each of the appeals also sought to raise other issues arising out of the respective judgments.

Jurisprudence

The Supreme Court identified that the leading authority regarding the extension of time for an...

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