McGee v O'Reilly

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date09 July 1996
Docket Number[S.C. No. 155 of 1995]
Date09 July 1996

Supreme Court

[S.C. No. 155 of 1995]
McGee v. O'Reilly
Gerard McGee (a minor, suing by his father and next friend Thomas McGee)
Plaintiff
and
Francis O'Reilly and The North Eastern Health Board
Defendants

Cases mentioned in this report:—

Behan v. The Medical Council [1993] 3 I.R. 523; [1993] I.L.R.M. 240.

Mahon v. Celbridge Spinning Co. Ltd. [1967] I.R. 1.

Practice and procedure - Particulars - Notice for particulars - Reply - Whether plaintiff entitled to replies to particulars sought - Principles to be applied - Whether issues between the parties had been defined - Whether plaintiff at a disadvantage - Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986 (S.I. No. 15), O. 19, r. 7, sub-r. 1.

Appeal from the High Court.

The facts have been summarised in the headnote and fully set out in the judgment of Keane J., infra.

By notice of motion the plaintiff sought an order compelling the first defendant to reply to a notice for particulars dated the 14th September, 1994, pursuant to O. 19, r. 7 (1) of the Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986.

The motion was heard by the High Court (Morris J.) on the 27th March, 1995. The High Court refused to make the order sought. By notice of appeal dated the 26th April, 1995, the plaintiff appealed the order of the High Court.

The appeal was heard by the Supreme Court (Hamilton C.J., Barrington and Keane JJ.) on the 17th May, 1996.

By O. 19, r. 7, sub-r. 1 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986:—

"A further and better statement of the nature of the claim or defence, or further and better particulars of any matter stated in any pleadings notice or written proceedings requiring particulars, may in all cases be ordered, upon such terms, as to costs and otherwise, as may be just."

Proceedings were issued on behalf of the plaintiff claiming damages for medical negligence arising out of the treatment afforded to him by the defendants. The statement of claim averred that the first defendant had called to the plaintiff's home, but had not examined him and had simply advised his parents to continue with existing medication. The first defendant's defence averred that he had examined the plaintiff and had advised that he be brought to hospital. The plaintiff sought detailed particulars of the examination and advice. The defendant having refused to answer, a motion to compel replies was brought.

The High Court (Morris J.) refused to order the replies sought by the plaintiff.

Held by the Supreme Court (Hamilton C.J., Barrington and Keane JJ.), in dismissing the appeal, 1, that the purpose of pleadings and particulars were to define the issues between the parties, to confine the evidence of the trial to the matters relevant to those issues and to ensure that neither party was taken at a disadvantage by the introduction of matters not fairly to be ascertained from the pleadings.

Mahon v. Celbridge Spinning Co. Ltd. [1967] I.R. 1 followed.

2. That the issues between the parties had been adequately defined and would be confined at the trial to the matters relevant to those issues.

3. That there was no ground to...

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