Re Countyglen Plc

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Francis D. Murphy
Judgment Date01 January 1995
Neutral Citation1994 WJSC-HC 2353
Docket Number[1993 No. 8335P],8335P/1993
CourtHigh Court
Date01 January 1995

1994 WJSC-HC 2353

THE HIGH COURT

8335P/1993
COUNTYGLEN PLC
IN THE MATTER OF COUNTYGLEN PLC (UNDER INVESTIGATION)
AND IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPANIES ACT 1990
AND IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 7(4) OF THE COMPANIES ACT 1990
FRANK CLARKE
APPLICANT

Citations:

COMPANIES ACT 1990 S8

COMPANIES ACT 1990 S7(4)

CONSTITUTION ART 34

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1991 UK

MCDONALD V BORD NA GCON 1965 IR 217

KEADY V THE COMMISSIONER OF AN GARDA SIOCHANA 1992 2 IR 197

GOODMAN INTERNATIONAL V HAMILTON 1992 2 IR 542

CHESTVALE PROPERTIES LTD V GLACKEN 1993 3 IR 35

STATE V O'BRIEN 1973 IR 50

SINGER, IN RE 1963 97 ILTR 130

MCGLINCHEY V GOVERNOR OF PORTLAOISE PRISON 1988 IR 671

R LTD, IN RE 1989 ILRM 757

COMPANIES ACT 1990 S7

COMPANIES ACT 1990 S9

Synopsis:

CONSTITUTION

Courts

Justice - Administration - Publicity - Requirement - Exceptions - No exception prescribed by relevant enactment - Company - Affairs - Investigation - Appointment of inspector to investigate and to report - Inspector's application to court for directions - Application heard and decided ~in camera~ - Whether exercise of jurisdiction to give directions constituted the administration of justice - Companies Act, 1990, ss. 7–9 - (1993/8335 P - Murphy J. - 28/10/94) - [1995] 1 I.R. 220 - [1995] 1 ILRM 213

|In re Clarke|

WORDS AND PHRASES

"Administration of justice"

Company - Affairs - Investigation - Inspector - Appointment - Application to court for directions - Order giving directions - Application heard and determined ~in camera~ - Constitution re quires administration of justice to be in public - Whether order made in contravention of Constitution - (1993/8335 P - Murphy J. - 28/10/94) - [1995] 1 I.R. 220 - [1995] 1 ILRM 213

|In re Clarke|

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Francis D. Murphy delivered the 28th day of October 1994 .

2

By Order of the High Court made on the 19th of January, 1994 pursuant to Section 8 of the Companies Act, 1990 the above named Frank Clarke was appointed by the High Court to investigate the affairs of the above named Countyglen Plc in relation to the matters specified in that Order. From time to time applications have been made to the Court by Mr. Clarke to extend the time for delivery of his report and otherwise. On the 30th day of June, 1994 Mr. Clarke applied ex parte for an Order giving directions to him under Section 7(4) of the 1990 Act and for an Order extending further the time for delivery of his report herein. In that application Counsel on behalf of Mr. Clarke expressly applied that the same should be heard "otherwise than in public".

3

Whilst some of the directions sought by Mr. Clarke were highly confidential and disclosure of the application would have been likely to prejudice the sensitive enquiries which he was then seeking to pursue, it was clear that the 1990 Act did not confer on the Court any statutory power to hear the application otherwise than in public. At my request, Counsel on behalf of the Applicant argued that the function which the Court was requested to exercise on the application was an administrative one and did not constitute the administration of justice within the meaning of Article 34 of the Constitution. Having regard to the urgency and importance of the matter, I acceded to the application but only on the terms that the proceedings before me were recorded by a stenographer and the Attorney General given notice of the application and the Order made by me thereunder so that he would have an opportunity of contending that the application was required to have been heard in public.

4

On the hearing of the issue Counsel on behalf of the Attorney General contended that the functions aforesaid constituted the administration of justice.

5

The relief sought by the Inspector was directions and Orders pursuant to Section 7(4) of the 1990 Act which provides as follows:-

"(4) Where the Court appoints an Inspector under this section or Section 8, it may, from time to time, give such directions as it thinks fit, whether to the Inspector or otherwise, with a view to ensuring that the investigation is carried out as quickly and as inexpensively as possible."

6

The particular relief sought by the Inspector under that subsection is reflected in the Order of the 30th of June, 1994 which, so far as material, provides as follows:-

"It is ordered pursuant to Section 7(4) of the Companies Act, 1990 that the Inspector be authorised and is hereby permitted to engage a firm of lawyers in Gurnsey on such terms as may be approved by the Chief Registrar of this Court to make an application under the...

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