Miranda v Rosas Construtores SA ; Alves Da Silva v Rosas Construtores SA ; Monteiro Da Silva v Rosas Construtores SA ; Oliveira Matos v Rosas Construtores SA ; Alves Guedes Monteiro v Rosas Construtores SA ; Almeida v Rosas Construtores SA ; Abrantes Do Carmo v Rosas Construtores SA

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
JudgeMs. Justice Costello
Judgment Date29 July 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] IECA 237
Date29 July 2019
Docket NumberNeutral Citation Number: [2019] IECA 237 Record nos. 2019/163 2019/164 2019/165 2019/166 2019/167 2019/168 2019/169 2012 No. 9538 P 2012 No. 9535 P 2013 No. 12219 P 2014 No. 9212 P 2014 No. 2244 P 2014 No. 3319 P

[2019] IECA 237

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Costello J.

Peart J.

Baker J.

Costello J.

Neutral Citation Number: [2019] IECA 237

Record nos. 2019/163

2019/164

2019/165

2019/166

2019/167

2019/168

2019/169

2012 No. 9538 P

2012 No. 9535 P

2013 No. 12219 P

2014 No. 9212 P

2014 No. 2244 P

2014 No. 3319 P

BETWEEN
CARLOS MANUEL MIRANDA, ALFREDO MARTINS RODRIGUES FERNANDES, VICTOR MANUEL MARQUES DE OLIVEIRA, MARIA PIEDOSA RIBEIRO CARDOSA GASTALHO, FRANCISCO PEREIRA MARTINS, JOSE MARIA COELHO BARBOSA

AND

CARLOS JOSE LONGA
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS
BETWEEN
ARMANDO AGOSTINHO ALVES DA SILVA, ALVARO ABILIO QUEIROS COELHO, HELDER FIGUEIREDO, MARIO AUGUSTO RAMALHO GASTALHO, SAMUEL FILIPE DA SILVA OLIVERIA, JOSE ANTONIO FONSECA RIBEIRO, ALBERTO BESSA LEITE, LUIS RODRIGUES DIAS MOURATO, JOSE DUARTE MAGALHAES, JOSE MARIA MARTINS VELOSO
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS
BETWEEN
JOSE MONTEIRO DA SILVA, NUNO PEDRO GONCALVES LOPES, DAVID SARAIVA MATIAS, ANTONIO BARBOSA MOREIRA, JOSE FRANCISCO OLIVIERA DA SILVA, JORGE DA SILVA LUIS, JOSE TEIXEIRA GONCALVES, ANTONIO JORGE OLIVEIRA BESSA, FRANCISCO DA COSTA FERRIERA, JOSE LUIS FREITAS LIMA
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS
BETWEEN
CARLOS MANUEL OLIVEIRA, CARLOS ALBERTO OLIVEIRA MATOS, RUI MIGUEL DOS REIS SERPA CORTE REAL, MANUEL JOAQUIM ALVES MACHADO FERREIRA, HELDER FILIPE BARBOSA GONCALVES, JORGE ALEXANDRE UMBELINO, AGOSTINHO DE SILVA SAMPAIO, JOSE ALFREDO QUINTANS MAGALHAES, VICTOR MANUEL CARDOSA ALMEIDA
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS
BETWEEN
ANTONIO GERMANO ALVES GUEDES MONTEIRO, ANTONIO GUEDES MONTEIRO, ARTUR JOAO ALONSO MOREIRA
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS
BETWEEN
JOSE MANUEL RIBEIRO DE ALMEIDA, CARLOS MANUEL MONTEIRO, ALBERTO DA CRUZ COEHLO, MANUEL ALBERTO PEREIRA DUARTE, JOAO PAULO RODRIGUES LEMOS, SERGIO ANTONIO CARVALHO, JOAO FILIPE OLIVEIRA GONCALVES, VITOR MANUEL FORMOSO PEREIRA
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS
BETWEEN
RAMIRO ABRANTES DO CARMOS, MANUEL SEBATIAO BRAS DE OLIVEIRA, JOSE FERNANDO MAGALHAES DA SILVA
PLAINTIFFS
-AND-
ROSAS CONSTRUTORES S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP CONSTRUCOES GABRIEL A.S. COUTO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP

AND

EMPRESA DECONSTRUCOES AMANDIO CARVALHO S.A. T/A RAC CONTRACTORS AND/OR RAC EIRE PARTNERSHIP
DEFENDANTS

Damages – Breach of contract – Costs – Plaintiffs seeking an order dismissing and/or striking out the defendants’ appeals as an abuse of process – Whether it was in the public interest to dismiss the appeals

Facts: By order of 24th January, 2019, Stewart J in the High Court ordered the defendants, Rosas Construtores SA, Construcoes Gabriel AS Couto SA and Empresa Deconstrucoes Amandio Carvalho SA, to pay damages to the plaintiffs in seven related proceedings, being her assessment of the damages to be awarded to the individual plaintiffs for breach of their respective contracts of employment by the defendants including damages for inconvenience, stress and general loss of enjoyment by reason of the substandard accommodation provided to the plaintiffs by the defendants. The court also ordered the defendants to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of €56,417.26 on account in respect of the plaintiffs’ costs which were to be taxed in default of agreement. On the 5th April, 2019 the defendants appealed and sought to have the judgment and order of the High Court set aside and to have the matter remitted to the High Court for reconsideration. The defendants sought an order for the costs of the appeal and of the hearing before the High Court. The appeals were listed for hearing on 1st July, 2021. It was against that background that the plaintiffs issued a motion to the Court of Appeal court seeking an order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the court dismissing and/or striking out the defendants’ appeal as an abuse of process. They alleged that the appeal was pursued for an improper ulterior motive, namely to delay paying the plaintiffs the sums due to them both by way of damages and by way of legal costs in circumstances where liability was not in issue and where they had repeatedly failed either to abide by orders of the court, failed to participate in the hearing before the High Court and had generally sought to conduct the litigation in a fashion to delay its progress as far as possible.

Held by Costello J that the public interest in the proper administration of justice and upholding the integrity of that system, as well as the private interests of the plaintiffs, required that the abuse of process by the defendants which had been established by the plaintiffs was met, not by addressing each specific item of abuse, but in bringing the appeals to an end.

Costello J held that she would grant the relief sought on the notice of motion and dismiss all of the appeals.

Appeals dismissed.

JUDGMENT of Ms. Justice Costello delivered on the 29th day of July, 2019.
1

By order of 24th January, 2019 Stewart J. in the High Court ordered the defendants to pay damages to the plaintiffs in seven related proceedings, being her assessment of the damages to be awarded to the individual plaintiffs for breach of their respective contracts of employment by the defendants including damages for inconvenience, stress and general loss of enjoyment by reason of the substandard accommodation provided to the plaintiffs by the defendants. The court also ordered the defendants to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of €56,417.26 on account in respect of the plaintiffs” costs which were to be taxed in default of agreement.

2

On the 5th April, 2019 the defendants (‘the appellants’) appealed and sought to have the judgment and order of the High Court set aside and to have the matter remitted to the High Court for reconsideration. The appellants sought an order for the costs of the appeal and of the hearing before the High Court.

3

The appeals are listed for hearing on 1st July, 2021.

4

It is against this background that the plaintiffs/respondents issued a motion to this court seeking an order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the court dismissing and/or striking out the appellants” appeal as an abuse of process. They allege that the appeal is pursued for an improper ulterior motive, namely to delay paying the plaintiffs the sums due to them both by way of damages and by way of legal costs in circumstances where liability is not in issue and where they had repeatedly failed either to abide by orders of the court, failed to participate in the hearing before the High Court and have generally sought to conduct the litigation in a fashion to delay its progress as far as possible.

5

Before considering the detail of the history of the litigation and the conduct of the appellants, I will first consider the principles of law governing the dismissal of proceedings, including defences and appeals, on the grounds that the continuance of the litigation would amount to an abuse of the process of the court.

Relevant legal principles
6

It has long been recognised that the courts have an inherent jurisdiction to control their own processes and that the court will not permit abuses of its processes. In Tracey v. Burton [2016] IESC 16 at para. 47 MacMenamin J. in the Supreme Court stated:-

‘[A] court is entitled to generally have regard to the manner in which proceedings are conducted. While the jurisdiction to strike out proceedings for abuse of process, in one form or another, is to be exercised sparingly, it is a sanction which cannot be ignored. Similarly, while parties have a right to defend proceedings, it may be necessary to identify the manner in which the defendants' rights are best vindicated. A court may, under the Constitution, take whatever proportionate steps are necessary to protect the integrity of its own processes and procedures, and the inherent right of courts, themselves, to manage their own procedures in a manner which balances the rights of litigants with the rights of the public, and other litigants.’

7

This clear statement encapsulates many of the principles which have been developed over time since the seminal case of Barry v. Buckley [1981] IR 306. The jurisdiction is the inherent jurisdiction of the court to control its own processes. The jurisdiction must be exercised sparingly and in clear cases only. The court has a duty to uphold the integrity of the judicial system. The jurisdiction applies to defendants as well as to plaintiffs. The court is concerned with the rights of the...

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1 cases
  • Miranda v Rosas Construtores
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 9 April 2020
    ...This was appealed to the Court of Appeal. 6 In the judgment of the Court of Appeal which is the subject matter of this application ( [2019] IECA 237), that Court struck out the appeal before it for abuse of Court process despite the fact that there may have been a stateable appeal. The Cour......

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