Grehan v North Eastern Health Board

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMR JUSTICE DECLANCOSTELLO
Judgment Date25 April 1989
Neutral Citation1989 WJSC-HC 1600
Date25 April 1989
Docket Number[1988 No. 11744P]
CourtHigh Court
GREHAN v. NORTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD

BETWEEN

MARY GREHAN
PLAINTIFF

AND

THE NORTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD THE MINISTER FOR HEALTHIRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
DEFENDANTS

1989 WJSC-HC 1600

No.11744P/1988

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis:

PROFESSIONS

Doctor

Employment - Termination - Health board - Powers - Implied term - Employment for definite period - Additional term not implied - ~See~ Contract, terms - (1988/11744 P - Costello J. - 25/4/89)

|Grehan v. North Eastern Health Board|

EMPLOYMENT

Termination

Contract - Express terms - Sufficiency - Implied term - Principles applicable - Employment for definite period - Rejection of implied term authorising additional method of termination - ~See~ Contract, terms - (1988/11744 P - Costello J. - 25/4/89)

|Grehan v. North Eastern Health Board|

CONTRACT

Terms

Implied term - Necessity - Employment - Termination - Employment for definite period - Medical practitioner - Standard contract - Express terms governed termination of employment - Rejection of implied term creating additional method of termination - Held that a term can be implied in a contract if it is one necessary to give efficacy to the intention of the parties and one to which the parties would readily have agreed if a third party had suggested it at the time the parties were negotiating the terms of the contract: ~The Moorcock~ (1889) 14 P.D. 64 applied; ~McClelland v. Northern Ireland General Health Services Board~ [1957] 1 W.L.R. 594, [1957] 2 All E.R. 129 considered - Held that the suggested implied term was not required to give efficacy to the plaintiff's contract and that, accordingly, no such term could be implied in the contract - (1988/11744 P - Costello J. - 25/4/89)

|Grehan v. North Eastern Health Board|

Citations:

HEALTH SERVICES REGS 1972 ART 8

HEALTH SERVICES REGS 1972 ART 8(17)

HALSBURY'S LAWS 4ED V9 PARA 355

MCCLELLAND V NORTHERN IRELAND GENERAL HEALTH SERVICES BOARD 1957 2 AER 129

1

JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE DECLANCOSTELLOON 25TH APRIL 1989

2

The Plaintiff is a registered medical practitioner practising in Dundalk. The North Eastern Health Board (the Defendant first-named) is a statutory body constituted under the Health Act 1970and is required by law to provide and maintain a general practitioner medical service for persons entitled to it by law.

3

On the 29th October 1981 the Plaintiff and the Defendant entered into a contract in writing which is the subject matter of these proceedings. Under its terms the Plaintiff agreed to provide services to persons eligible for such services under section 58 of the Health Act 1970and she stated the place where these services would be supplied and particulars of her availability for domiciliary calls. Detailed terms and conditions of the parties" agreement were set out in the schedule to the contract and it is the problem of the correct construction of these terms and conditions which has brought the parties to court.

4

In the Summer of 1988 the Minister for Health, having negotiated with the Irish Medical Organisation, agreed with the IMO new terms and conditions upon which registered medical practitioners would provide the general medical service which Health Boards were required to provide by law. By circular of the 1st November 1988 all participating medical practitioners, including the Plaintiff, were advised that the new terms and conditions would be implemented as and from the 1st January 1989. The Plaintiff has never been a member of the IMO and did not authorise them to negotiate on her behalf and objects to the new terms and conditions. Correspondence having failed to produce a result satisfactory to her, she has nowinstituted these proceedings seeking inter alia a declaration that the agreement of 29th October 1981 cannot be terminated by the Health Board or altered by it without her consent. The Board accepts that it cannot unilaterally alter the terms of the Plaintiff's contract but has countered with a claim for a declaration that it is entitled to terminate her agreement after giving the Plaintiff reasonable notice. Presumably after termination the Plaintiff would be given the option to sign the new contract or to cease her employment with the Board.

5

There thus arises the net issue which, with the agreement of the parties, I will address in this judgment: namely, whether the Court should imply into the parties" contract (there being no express term to this effect) a term entitling the Board to terminate it on reasonable notice and, if so, the period of notice which would be reasonable in the circumstances. If I decide this issue in the Defendant's favour that will be the end of the case. If I decide it in the Plaintiff's favour a number of other issues will arise which will have to be considered on another day.

6

The schedule of terms and conditions is a long document of 33 paragraphs but for the purposes of this case I need draw attention to only some of them. There is a power to suspend the agreement. By paragraph 25 the chief executive officer of the Board may, when satisfied that the care of patients is placed in jeopardy, suspend its operation pending investigation of complaints against the Plaintiff (for which provision is made in paragraph 24). This is followed by six paragraphs headed "Termination of the agreement" which, as they are central to the issue which I have to decide, I should quote in full.

"Termination of the agreement
7

26. The medical practitioner may terminate the agreement on giving three months notice or such shorter notice as may be accepted by theboard.

8

27. The agreement shall be terminated forthwith where the medical practitioner name is erased from the register of medical practitioners under the Medical Practitioners Act 1927(No. 25 of 1927).

9

28. Where the committee, having complied with article 8 of the Health Services Regulations, 1972, recommends termination of the agreement, the board may terminate the agreement subject to appeal to the Minister under article 8(17) of the Health Services Regulations, 1972. Where an agreement has been terminated under this paragraph and the medical practitioner requests a review of the board decision, the board shall carry out such a review and may, if it so thinks fit, declare that the medical practitioner is considered suitable to enter into a new agreement for the provision of services under section 58 of the Health...

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4 cases
  • Sheehy v Ryan
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 9 Abril 2008
    ...only case that could arguably support the appellant's contention is the judgment of Costello J. in Grehan v. North Eastern Health Board [1989] I.R. 422. But that was a very exceptional case which specifically provided that the employment of a medical practitioner would terminate on reaching......
  • Carey v Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 7 Agosto 2003
    ...V COLLOW 1992 1 NZLR 178 FLEMING LAW OF TORTS 8ED 1992 187 PROSSER & KEETON LAW OF TORTS (1984) 444 GREHAN V NORTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD 1989 IR 422 WARREN V SUPER DRUG MARKETS LTD 1965 54 DLR 183 SPEAKMAN V CALGARY 1908 9 WLR 264 FORDE EMPLOYMENT LAW 2ED 166 LYONS V M F KENT & CO INTL 1996......
  • Hayes v Kelleher & Reardon
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 31 Julio 2015
    ...in the construction of documents inter partes and is particularly apt to the present case." ii. Grehan v. The North Eastern Health Board [1989] I.R. 422 66 This was a case concerned with a purported variation of a contract of employment following agreement of revised terms with a union of w......
  • Sheehy v Ryan
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 3 Febrero 2004
    ...ACT 1967 WALSH V DUBLIN HEALTH BOARD 1964 98 ILTR 82 DOOLEY V GREAT SOUTHERN HOTEL 2001 ELR 340 GREHAN V NORTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD 1989 IR 422 MCCLELAND V NI GENERAL HEALTH SERVICES BOARD 1957 1 WLR 594 HICKEY V EASTERN HEALTH BOARD 1991 1 IR 208 EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (SAFEGUARDING OF E......

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