Laois County Council v Scully

CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr Justice Michael Peart
Judgment Date18 January 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] IEHC 2
Docket Number[2005 No. 15
Date18 January 2006

[2006] IEHC 2


No. 15 MCA/2005


Laois County Council


Richard Scully, Michael Scully, Eileen Scully, Scully Skips Limited and Edward Boyhan



WICKLOW CO COUNCIL v FENTON 2003 1 ILRM 279 2002 4 IR 44

EEC DIR 75/442

EEC DIR 91/156


corporate veil

COMPANY LAW Corporate veil Limitation of liability - Company responsible for environmental damage - Whether veil of incorporation can be lifted and orders made directly against company directors - Wicklow County Council v Fenton [2002] 4 IR 44 followed - Orders granted (2005/15MCA - Peart J - 18/1/2006) [2006] IEHC 2 Laois County Council v Scully

Facts: the applicant sought various reliefs requiring the respondents to cease the holding and/or disposal and/or recovery of waste at certain lands. The respondents accepted their liability and the only dispute between the parties was as to the measures to be taken to reinstate the lands. The applicant's proposal required the removal of all waste to an authorised waste facility whereas the respondents' proposal would result in the sorting of waste on site and be a cheaper solution. The applicant contended that the respondents' proposal would not remediate the land properly.

Held by Peart J in granting the reliefs sought that where two solutions are put forward, the solution which places the lesser burden on the paying polluter should be regarded as the appropriate one provided that the less onerous solution is equally effective and satisfactory in order to achieve the objectives of the legislation. In this instance, the solution put forward by the respondents was not one which could be reasonably regarded as providing an adequate solution to the task of remediation of the lands and the fact that the applicant's proposal would cost more than the proposal put forward by the respondents could not be a factor against the former. Furthermore, the veil of incorporation should be lifted and the orders should be made against the directors of the company to ensuire the full application of the polluter pays principle and other objectgives of the European Waste Directive.

Reporter: P.C.


Mr Justice Michael Peart delivered on the 18th day of January 2006:


The applicant seeks certain reliefs against the respondents on foot of the Notice of Motion issued herein on the 8th March 2005 pursuant to s. 57 of the Waste Management Acts 1996–2000, and s. 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.


By way of summary, these reliefs sought amount to requiring the respondents to cease the holding and/or disposal and/or recovery of waste at certain lands at Knockacrin, Timahoe, Co. Wicklow, to remove all such waste from the lands and deliver same to an authorised waste disposal or recovery facility, and to remediate the lands and any leachate-contaminated waters downstream therefrom, to the standard of normal agricultural land in the area. There is no need to set for these reliefs with more particularity.


The applicant seeks certain declaratory reliefs in addition to these substantive reliefs.


I will not set out the contents of the affidavits filed, since the essential background to the reliefs sought is not a matter of contest between the parties. The respondents accept that they are not the holders of a waste permit or waste licence such as would have entitled them to operate the land in question as they have done. They also accept that no such permit was applied for. The only matter in dispute really is the measures which must now be taken in order to remediate the lands. The applicant has set forth what in their view is necessary, but the respondents are of the view, and they have submitted some expert evidence which they say supports their view, that measures less than those required by the applicant, and therefore less costly and which they can afford, will be sufficient to remediate the lands. The applicant's proposals require the removal of all waste brought onto the lands to an authorised waste facility (such facility to be approved in advance by the Council), and for the land then to be filled and restored to the standard of normal agricultural land for the area. The respondents on the other hand say that these works will cost in the order of €1.5 million and that they cannot afford such a sum.



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