Fox v The Minister for Justice and Law Reform

JudgeBirmingham P
Judgment Date16 November 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] IECA 310
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
Docket Number[2018 No. 37]
Date16 November 2020



[2020] IECA 310

The President

Edwards J.

McCarthy J.

[2018 No. 37]



Costs – Order of mandamus – Commissions of Investigation – Parties seeking costs – Whether costs should follow the event

Facts: The applicant, Mr Fox, appealed to the Court of Appeal from a decision of the High Court (Faherty J) of 14th December 2017, refusing an order of mandamus compelling the respondents, the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, the Attorney General and Ireland, to establish two Commissions of Investigation into the murder of Mr Ludlow on 2nd May 1976. The Court delivered judgments on 22nd May 2020, dismissing the applicant’s appeal. The applicant appealed and the respondents cross-appealed the award of costs in favour of the applicant. The respondents argued that they had fully succeeded before the Court and that there should be an order for costs of the appeal in their favour. So far as the High Court was concerned, the respondents asked that the order in favour of the applicant as to 50% of costs should be varied, to the extent that there should be no order for costs in the High Court. The unsuccessful applicant said that he should have the costs of the appeal awarded in his favour. He did so on the basis of a contention that it was a case where costs should follow the event and, in the alternative, that this was an exceptional case which involved novel and important points of law which would justify a departure from the normal rules.

Held by Birmingham P that the respondents’ contention that they had wholly succeeded on this appeal was entirely correct and it seemed to Birmingham P that this must result in an order for costs in favour of the successful respondents in the Court; that is so whether one has regard to s. 169 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015, or to O. 99 of the Rules of the Superior Courts or a combination of both. It also seemed to Birmingham P that a necessary consequence of having brought an unsuccessful appeal to the Court is that the applicant loses the benefit of the order for part-costs that he had received in the High Court.

Birmingham P held that, on the cross-appeal, the Court would set aside the order for 50% costs in favour of the applicant which had been made in the High Court, and instead, provide that there should be no order for costs in the High Court.

Costs to respondents.

RULING of the Court on Costs delivered on the 16 th day of November 2020 by Birmingham P

This Court delivered judgments on 22 nd May 2020. dismissing the applicant's appeal.


Submissions in relation to costs were received from the successful respondents on 14 th August 2020. In recent days, submissions have been received by the Court of Appeal Office from the unsuccessful applicant. Those submissions are dated 19 th June 2020, but no submissions from June 2020 have been found.


In the High Court, where the applicant was also unsuccessful, it was argued on behalf of the...

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