Hoey v Minister for Justice

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Lynch
Judgment Date01 January 1994
Neutral Citation1993 WJSC-HC 3714
Docket Number[1992 No. 122 JR],No. 122 J.R./1992
CourtHigh Court
Date01 January 1994
HOEY v. MIN JUSTICE

BETWEEN

VINCENT HOEY AND NEIL MATTHEWS
APPLICANTS

AND

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
RESPONDENT

1993 WJSC-HC 3714

No. 122 J.R./1992

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis:

COURTHOUSE

Repair

Duty - Discharge - Failure - Statute - Minister of State - Powers - Exercise - (1992/122 JR - Lynch J. - 3/9/93)- [1994] 3 IR 329 - [1994] 1 ILRM 334

|Hoey v. Minister for Justice|

GOVERNMENT

Powers

Scheme - Motive - Propriety - Courthouses - Repair - Control - Statute - Terms - Conflict - Whether section of Victorian statute applicable to Circuit Court - (1992/122 JR - Lynch J. - 3/9/93)- [1994] 3 IR 329 - [1994] 1 ILRM 334

|Hoey v. Minister for Justice|

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local authority

Courthouse - Maintenance - Duty - Discharge - Failure - Statutory provisions - Government scheme - Scheme purporting to circumvent terms of statute - Civil Bill Courts (Ireland) Act, 1851, s. 31 - Courts of Justice Act, 1924, s. 37 - Courthouses (Provision and Maintenance) Act, 1935, ss. 3, 6, 10 - Courts of Justice Act, 1947, s. 10 - Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act, 1961, s. 4 - (1992/122 JR - Lynch J. - 3/9/93)- [1994] 3 IR 329 - [1994] 1 ILRM 334

|Hoey v. Minister for Justice|

MINISTER OF STATE

Powers

Exercise - Courthouse - Repair - Refusal - Government - Scheme - Conflict with statute - Minister directed to exercise power - (1992/122 JR - Lynch J. - 3/9/93)- [1994] 3 IR 329 - [1994] 1 ILRM 334

|Hoey v. Minister for Justice|

STATUTE

Repeal

Implication - Enactments - Terms - Conflict -

Circuit Court - Sittings - Venue - Regulation - Whether section of Victorian statute applicable to Circuit Court - (1992/122 JR - Lynch J. - 3/9/93)- [1994] 3 IR 329 - [1994] 1 ILRM 334

|Hoey v. Minister for Justice|

Citations:

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S6

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S6(1)

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1947 S10

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) 1935 S3(1)(a)

ADAPTATION OF ENACTMENTS ACT 1922 S12

CONSTITUTION (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1937 S5

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S22(4)(b)

CIVIL BILL COURTS (IRL) ACT 1851 S31

CIVIL BILL COURTS (IRL) ACT 1851 (ADAPTATION) (NO 2) ORDER 1992 SI 174/1992

CIVIL BILL COURTS (IRL) ACT 1851 (ADAPTATION) ORDER 1992 SI 193/92

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1924

QUINN & WHITE V STOKES & QUIRKE 1931 IR 558

EXHAM & ORS V BEAMISH & ORS 1939 IR 336

DPP, PEOPLE V BELL & ORS 1969 IR 24

CASSIDY V MIN FOR INDUSTRY & COMMERCE 1978 IR 297

EAST DONEGAL CO-OPERATIVE LIVESTOCK MART LTD & ORS V AG 1970 IR 317

MCMEEL & ORS V MIN FOR HEALTH & NORTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD 1985 ILRM 616

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S3

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S6

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S10

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S22(3)

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S22(4)(b)

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1947 S10

KING & GOFF, STATE V MIN FOR JUSTICE 1984 IR 169

COURTS (ESTABLISHMENT & CONSTITUTION) ACT 1961

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S43

LOCAL GOVT (FINANCIAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1978 S9

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S6(1)

COURTHOUSES (PROVISION & MAINTENANCE) ACT 1935 S3(2)

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1953 S26

CONSTITUTION ART 50

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Lynch delivered the 3rd day of September 1993.

2

This is an application by way of Judicial Review for an Order of Mandamus to compel the Respondent (the Minister) to perform the duties imposed on her in relation to the provision and maintenance of Courthouses by Section 6 of the Courthouses (Provision and Maintenance) Act 1935(the 1935 Act). The Applicants are two Solicitors practising as such in the town of Drogheda and in effect they represent the members of their profession who practice in the town of Drogheda and its environs. Their complaint relates to the dangerous state of disrepair of the Courthouse in Fair Street, Drogheda such that sittings of the Circuit Court have had to be abandoned in the town of Drogheda since July 1991.

3

Sittings of the former Circuit Court of Justice were held in the said Courthouse in Fair Street, Drogheda from the establishment of the said Court in 1924 and sittings of the County Court (the predecessor of the Circuit Court of Justice) were held in the said Courthouse in Drogheda for many years before that again. On the establishment of the Circuit Court in 1961 sittings thereof were held in the said Courthouse until 1964 when sittings of the Circuit Court in Drogheda ceased owing to the state of disrepair into which the said Courthouse had fallen. By an Order of the High Court made on the 20th day of April 1972 it was ordered that the Minister exercise forthwith the statutory duties imposed upon the Minister by subsection (1) of Section 6 of the Act. Pursuant to that Order works of repair were carried out to the said Courthouse and sittings of the Circuit Court recommenced therein in the year 1974.

4

The Circuit Court continued to sit in the said Courthouse in Drogheda until July 1991 when such sittings were discontinued following the service by Drogheda Corporation on Louth County Council of a Dangerous Buildings Notice in respect of the said Courthouse. Since then sittings of the Circuit Court formerly held in Drogheda have been transferred to Dundalk. On the 11th of July 1991 the President of the Circuit Court pursuant to Section 10 of the Courts of Justice Act 1947(the 1947 Act) made an Order specifying the venues at which the Circuit Court of the Eastern Circuit should sit omitting therefrom the town of Drogheda and on the 18th of July 1991 the Circuit Judge permanently assigned to the Eastern Circuit made an Order providing inter alia as follows:

"2. All future sittings after the 8th day of October 1991 of the said Court which would have ordinarily been held at Drogheda in the said County shall be held at Dundalk in the said County and not at Drogheda aforesaid until further Order.

This Order is made by reason of the Courthouse at Drogheda being in a condition which renders it unfit for use and will continue in force until revoked."

5

On the 5th of December 1991 the Applicants wrote to Louth County Council and to the Minister calling upon them to perform their duties under the 1935 Act. Acknowledgements from and reminders to the Minister followed until on the 19th of June 1992 the Minister wrote to the Applicants as follows:

"I am directed by the Minister for Justice, Mr. Padraic Flynn T.D., to refer to your letters of the 27th of February and 15th of May 1992 regarding the Courthouse at Fair Street, Drogheda. The position is that pursuant to Section 3(1)(a) of the Courthouses (Provision and Maintenance) Act 1935, the Minister has informed Louth County Council that:"

(a) He does not require the Council henceforth to provide Courthouse accommodation at Drogheda for sittings of the Circuit Court and that his requirements in relation to Courthouse accommodation for sittings of the Circuit Court in the Council's functional area will be fully satisfied by the continued provision and maintenance for that purpose of the existing Courthouse at Dundalk.

(b) He does require the Council to continue to provide accommodation for sittings of the District Court in the District Court area of Drogheda and that his requirements in that regard will be satisfied by the continued rental by the Council on a day of use basis or otherwise of the premises presently used for the purpose and known as St. Mary's Hall, Old Hill, Drogheda.

(c) He does not therefore require the Council to repair or refurbish the Courthouse accommodation at Fair Street, Drogheda nor does he require the Council to provide any purpose built Courthouse in replacement of it.

6

The Minister is satisfied that in the circumstances the necessity for a direction to the Commissioners of Public Works does not arise and accordingly he does not propose to issue any such direction."

7

In the meantime, unknown to the Applicants, the Minister had written to Louth County Council on the 8th of January 1992 as follows:

"I am directed by the Minister for Justice to inform you, pursuant to Section 3(1)(a) of the Courthouses (Provision and Maintenance) Act 1935that he does not require Louth County Council henceforth to provide Courthouse accommodation at Drogheda for sittings of the Circuit Court. His requirements in relation to Courthouse accommodation for sittings of the Circuit Court in the Council's functional area will be fully satisfied by the continued provision and maintenance for the purpose of the existing Courthouse at Dundalk.

The Minister does require the Council to continue to provide accommodation for sittings of the District Court in the District Court area of Drogheda. His requirements in that regard will be satisfied by the continued rental by the Council, on a day of use basis or otherwise, of the premises presently used for the purpose and known as St. Mary's Hall, Old Hill, Drogheda.

Accordingly the Minister does not require Louth County Council to repair or refurbish the Courthouse accommodation at Fair Street, Drogheda nor does he require the Council to provide any purpose built Courthouse in replacement of it."

8

On the 23rd of June 1992 the Government made an Order pursuant to Section 12 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act 1922and Section 5 of the Constitution (Consequential Provisions) Act 1937 Statutory Instrument No. 193 of 1992 and on the same date the 23rd of June 1992 the Minister made an Order pursuant to Section 22(4)(b) of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961being Statutory Instrument No. 174 of 1992 both of which Orders provided:

"Section 31 of the Civil Bill Courts (Ireland) Act 1851 shall have effect as if for the reference to the Lord Lieutenant or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland for the time being acting with the consent and advice of the Privy Counsel and the...

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