Giles J. Kennedy v Law Society of Ireland

CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice George Birmingham
Judgment Date10 March 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] IEHC 70
Docket Number[1063 $/2006]
Date10 March 2008

[2008] IEHC 70


[1063 $/2006]
Giles J. Kennedy v Law Society of Ireland





CLARKE v COMMISSIONER OF AN GARDA SIOCHANA 2002 1 IR 207 2002 1 ILRM 450 2001/3/735

BEST v WELLCOME (NO 2) 1995 2 IR 393 1995 1 ILRM 554 1995/1/228





Interest - Date from which interest runs - Whether interest on costs runs from the date of the order awarding costs or from the date when the amount of costs payable is determined by the certificate of taxing master - Whether interest calculated on total amount of costs awarded or amount owed following set-off - Clarke v Commissioner of an Garda Síochána [2002] 1 IR 207, Cooke v Walsh [1989] ILRM 322, Best v Wellcome Foundation Ltd (No 2) [1995] 2 IR 393 and Hickey v Norwich Union Fire Insurance Ltd (Unrep, Murphy J, 23/10/1987) distinguished - Claim dismissed (2006/1063S - Birmingham J - 10/3/2008) [2008] IEHC 70

Kennedy v Law Society

Facts: The plaintiff claimed an entitlement to interest on foot of an award of costs for litigation in 1999 and 2003. The amount of interest was in dispute as between the parties. The plaintiff submitted that interest was to be payable from the earliest date that the law permitted. The defendant argued that the contention of the plaintiff was in clear conflict with the order of the Court as made.

Held by Birmingham J. that the plaintiff was entitled to be paid costs, taxed and ascertained, for the High Court 1999 hearing with a set off against costs awarded to the defendant for the 2003 hearing. This had happened. The plaintiff was entitled to interest for the period between the award of costs in 2003 and the payment. This had also been paid. The plaintiff was entitled to interest subsequent to 2003 and not before this time. No further sums were due.

Reporter: EF

Mr. Justice George Birmingham

In the Notice of Motion before the Court, the plaintiff seeks liberty to enter final judgment in the sum of €261,187.88 together with further interest thereon from the 6th June, 2007. The plaintiff claims to be entitled to this sum as representing the interest due on foot of an award of costs.


There is a long and complex background to the current application. It is necessary to refer briefly to that history in order to put the present proceedings in context. On the 5th October, 1999, after a very lengthy High Court hearing, the trial Judge (Kearns J.) delivered a written judgment refusing the reliefs sought by way of Judicial Review by Mr. Kennedy. Subsequently, on the 20th October, 1999, he made an Order for costs in favour of the Law Society of Ireland (hereafter referred to as "the Society").


The decision of the High Court was appealed successfully to the Supreme Court by the plaintiff. On the 11th January, 2002, an Order was made by that Court remitting the matter to the High Court for further hearing and to assess the damages (if any) to which the plaintiff in the proceedings was entitled.


The provisions of the Order of the Supreme Court dealing with the question of costs are of considerable significance in the context of the present application and should be set out in full:-

"IT IS ORDERED that the Applicant do recover from the Respondents the costs of the Appeal up to and including the date on which the Judgment of the Court herein was delivered by Mr. Justice Fennelly but no costs thereafter that the said High Court Order dated the 20th day of October 1999 regarding costs, be set aside and in lieu thereof, IT IS ORDERED that the High Court costs be reserved to the High Court as the issue in relation to damages is still outstanding and the entire matter of costs in the High Court to be dealt with by the learned Judge of the High Court who disposes of this case."


A further hearing before Kearns J. took place in July, 2003 which resulted in the plaintiff's claim for damages being dismissed. The question of costs was dealt with by Order of the 31st July, 2003 and again, given its importance to the present case, it is appropriate to quote the relevant sections of the Order:-

"IT IS ORDERED that the Applicant/Defendant [Mr. Kennedy] do recover from the Respondents/Plaintiff [The Society] the costs (including any reserved costs and any costs of discovery) of the High Court proceedings up to the 20th day of October 1999 and that the Respondents/Plaintiff [The Law Society] be granted the costs (including any reserved costs) of the herein Action for damages all such costs to be taxed in default of agreement.

And IT IS ORDERED that the said costs be offset one against the other."


Both sides appealed the judgment and Order of July, 2003 to the Supreme Court which, on the 21st June, 2005, dismissed the appeal and cross-appeal.


On the 24th November, 2006, the costs to which the plaintiff (Mr. Kennedy) was entitled were taxed at €1,121,763.99. Those to which the Defendant (the Society) was entitled were taxed at €352,275.49. On the same day the sum of €769,488.50 being the difference between the two sums certified, was paid by the Society.


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