McEvoy v Meath County Council

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeQuirke J.
Judgment Date24 January 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] IEHC 31
Docket Number[2001 No. 359 JR],[No. 359 J.R./2001]
Date24 January 2003
MCEVOY & SMITH v. MEATH CO COUNCIL

BETWEEN

TONY McEVOY AND MICHAEL SMITH
APPLICANTS

AND

MEATH COUNTY COUNCIL
RESPONDENTS

[2003] IEHC 31

Quirke J.

[No. 359 J.R./2001]

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis:

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

Costs

Judicial review - Planning and Environmental - Development plan - Costs - Whether normal rule that costs follow event should apply - Exercise of discretion by court in departing from rule - Factors to be considered - Whether applicants acting in public interest - Findings of fact made by court - Conduct of respondent during proceedings - Whether facts put in issue - Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986 Order 99, rule 1(4) (2001/359JR - Quirke J - 24/1/03)

McEvoy v Meath County Council - [2003] 1 IR 228

Facts: in a judgment delivered on the 2nd September, 2002, the High Court declined to accede to the applicants' application to quash the decision of the respondent to make and adopt the development plan for Meath in 2001. However, in reaching its decision, the court was required to make a number of findings of fact, such facts having been disputed and put in issue by the respondent. The majority of these findings of fact were in favour of the applicants. During a subsequent hearing, the High Court heard the parties' submissions as to the costs of the proceedings.

Held by Quirke J in ordering that the respondent pay 100% of the costs of and associated with the transcript of the proceedings and 50% of the applicants' costs of and incidental to the proceedings that when considering its jurisdiction to make a pre-emptive costs order, there is a distinction to be made by the court between private law litigation and public interest challenges where proceedings raise public law issues which are of general importance and where the applicants have no private interest in the outcome of the proceedings. The court was influenced by the fact that the applicants were acting in the public interest and had no private interest in the outcome of the proceedings and that the respondent had put a number of facts in issue which facts could have been agreed between the parties prior to the hearing.

Citations:

O'SHIEL V MIN EDUCATION 1999 2 IR 321 1999 2 ILRM 241 2000 13 5034

RSC O.99

CONSTITUTION ART 42

O'CONNOR V NENAGH URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL (UDC) & DUNNES STORES LTD UNREP SUPREME 16.5.2002

RSC O.99 r1(1)

RSC O.99 r1(4)

R V LORD CHANCELLOR EX-PARTE CPAG 1998 2 AER 755 1999 1 WLR 347

LANCEFORT LTD V BORD PLEANALA (NO 2) 1999 2 IR 270

1

JUDGMENT of Quirke J. delivered the 24th day of January, 2003.

2

Having delivered judgment in this case on the 2 nd September, 2002, I heard applications from the parties relative to costs on the 8 th November, 2002, which, in summary, comprised an application by the applicants for an order for costs against the respondent and a corresponding application by the respondent for an order for costs against the applicants.

3

In O'Shiel (a minor) & Ors. v. Minister for Education and Science, Ireland and Attorney General (Unreported, High Court, Laffoy J., 10 th May, 1999) the exercise of this Court's discretion pursuant to Order 99 of the Rules of the Superior Courts to award costs was considered and in particular the "special category of case in which the Court will award costs to an unsuccessful plaintiff."

4

Six different cases in which costs were awarded to unsuccessful litigants were reviewed by the court which noted inter aliathat at the time of judgment there appeared "...to be no statement or record from which the principle which should govern an application for costs by an unsuccessful Plaintiff in a constitutional action can be deduced."

5

In that case the unsuccessful plaintiff were awarded the full costs of the action on grounds inter alia that the proceedings had significance which extended beyond the sectional interests of the plaintiffs, that it was in the broader public interests that the extent of various obligations and rights created by Article 42 of the Constitution should be clarified and that the primary beneficiaries of the proceedings would have been children who relied upon their parents to invoke the courts jurisdiction to vindicate their constitutional rights.

6

In O'Connor v. Nenagh Urban District Council and Anor.(Unreported, Supreme Court, 16 th May, 2002) the discretion of this Court in the matter of costs was again considered with particular reference to Order 99 Rules 1(1) and (4) where an applicant was refused relief by way of judicial review of a decision of a planning authority. The Court refused to interfere with the exercise by the trial judge of his discretion to make no order as to costs in respect of the respondent and to award to a notice party its costs against the applicant. The Court found that whilst "there is an element of public interest in this case...it does not involve issues of considerable public importance."

7

In Regina v. Lord Chancellor, exP; CPAG [1999] 1 W.L.R. 347Dyson J., dealing with the jurisdiction to make a pre-emptive costs order acknowledged that there was a distinction to...

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