McDonald v Galvin

CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date01 January 1977
Neutral Citation1976 WJSC-HC 998
Docket NumberNo. 1183 P/1975
Date01 January 1977

1976 WJSC-HC 998


No. 1183 P/1975
R. 17/6/76

JUDGMENT OF McWILLIAM J. delivered this 23rd day of February 1976


The Plaintiff's claim is for damages for assault and battery by the Defendant on the Plaintiff in the drawingroom of the Defendant's house on 25th February, 1970. The Plenary Summons was issued on 26th March, 1975. I have no information as to the date of service of the summons. An appearance was entered on 2nd July, 1975. The certificate of proceedings does not show any defence to have been delivered and I assume that this has not been done. No special damages are claimed by the Plaintiff. The injuries sustained are described as pain, shock and humiliation. The matter comes before me on a motion by the Defendant to have the case remitted to the District Court or, alternatively, to the Circuit Court.


It is argued on behalf of the Defendant that the statement of claim does not disclose any injuries and that such an assault must be fully compensated by a sum of £250, the limit of the District Court jurisdiction and that, whatever may be said about a sum in excess of £250, damages to an amount in excess of £2,000 must be set aside as excessive.


It is argued on behalf of the Plaintiff that this is a case in which the High Court has original jurisdiction, that it is a claim in tort on the trial of which, in the High Court, the Plaintiff is entitled to a jury as of right and that by remitting the action to the Circuit Court or District Court, the Plaintiff would be deprived of his right to a trial with a jury. As I understand this argument, it implies first that there is an absolute right to a jury, and, second, that, even if there is not such absolute right, the fact of there being a right to a jury in the High Court is one to which I should have regard in exercising my discretion. It is also suggested that it would be unconstitutional to deprive the Plaintiff of his right to a jury but it was indicated that this was an aspect which might be developed in other proceedings. It is also submitted that, in the absence of any affidavit on behalf of the Defendant, I have no evidence before me on which I can exercise my discretion on the question of exemplary damages. On the possibility of exemplary damages I was referred to the judgment of Lord Devlin in the case of Rookes.v. Barnard (1964) A.C. 1129. It is also submitted that the Plaintiff has a constitutional right of access to the High Court and that, if this right is exercised, he has a right to a jury and cannot be deprived of it. I was also referred to the case of Ronayne.v. Ronayne (1970) I.R. 15.


The submissions raise the issue of the right of any party to have a civil action tried with a jury. I have not been given any indication of the origin of such right. No such right is given by the Constitution.


Article 34, sub-section 3, clause I provides that the Courts of First Instance shall include a High Court invested with full original jurisdiction in and power to determine all matters and...

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1 cases
  • Morrissey v Health Service Executive
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 3 May 2019
    ...... or wilful act, such as an assault by a ‘ wealthy man in a dominant position’ with a most humiliating effect upon a plaintiff as in McDonald v. Galvin (McWilliam J., High Court, 23rd February, 1976) or false imprisonment by members of An Garda Síochána ( Dillon v. Dunne Stores ......

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