Murphy v Corporation of Dublin

Judgment Date01 January 1973
Date01 January 1973
Docket Number[1969. No. 538 P.]
CourtSupreme Court
Corporation of Dublin

Public interest - Minister of State certifying that production of particular document would be contrary to public policy and detrimental to public interest - Rules of Superior Courts, 1962 (S.I. No. 72 of 1962), Or. 31, rr.14, 15 - Housing Act, 1966 (No. 21), ss. 76, 109 and third schedule - Constitution of Ireland,1937, Articles 28, 34.

Certain lands of the plaintiff were situated within the functional area of the Council of the County of Dublin which was the planning authority for those lands. The Council refused to grant outline planning permission to the plaintiff for the development of those lands. Shortly afterwards the Corporation of Dublin, being the housing authority for an adjacent area, made a compulsory purchase order for the acquisition by the Corporation of the plaintiff's lands pursuant to ss. 76 and 109 of the Housing Act, 1966. The objections of the plaintiff and others were the subject of a public inquiry held by an inspector appointed by the second defendant, the Minister for Local Government. The inspector furnished a written report of the inquiry to the Minister who confirmed the purchase order. The plaintiff issued a plenary summons seeking a declaration that the purchase order was invalid. The Minister, having disclosed the existence of the report on a motion for discovery of documents, claimed to be entitled to withhold the report on the ground that its production was contrary to public policy and the public interest. At the hearing of an application by the plaintiff in the High Court for the production of the report, it was Held by Kenny J., in dismissing the application, 1, that the Minister had no absolute right to withhold the production of the report but that it was the function of the court to decide whether the document should be made available to the parties to the litigation, and for that purpose the Court had jurisdiction to require the production of the document for inspection by the Court. 2. If a Minister of State certifies that it would be against the public interest to disclose the contents of a specified document which he has considered, the Court should accept his view unless (a) it is shown not to have been formed in good faith or (b) it is one which no reasonable Minister could take or (c) it is based on a misunderstanding of the issues in the case in which production was sought. On appeal by the plaintiff it was Held by the Supreme Court ( Ó Dálaigh C.J., Walsh...

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