O'Reilly -v- Hallihan, [2012] IEHC 509 (2012)

Docket Number:2011 9059 P
Party Name:O'Reilly, Hallihan
Judge:Hogan J.
 
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THE HIGH COURT[2011 No. 9059 P]

BETWEEN/

MICHAEL O’REILLYPLAINTIFFAND

MARIA HALLIHANDEFENDANT

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Hogan delivered on the 10th December, 2012

  1. The decision by a defendant to be legally represented and to have an appearance in the proceedings entered by his or her solicitor in accordance with O. 12, rr. 5 and 7 RSC is one of the most routine features of the entire administration of justice. It might, therefore, seem surprising that the implications of such a step have but rarely been judicially considered. This, however, is one such case.

  2. The defendant is an executive officer in the Management Information Services Unit of the Collector-General’s division of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. At some stage between 2003 and 2005, Ms. Hallihan was involved in the preparation of a proposal to make the plaintiff, Mr. O’Reilly, bankrupt and, in this regard, provided instructions in subsequent proceedings involving the Collector-General and the plaintiff. The gist of the plaintiff’s case is that Ms. Hallihan “knowingly” set out details in a material and substantial fashion in a proposal for bankruptcy. Not surprisingly, these matters may be taken to be very much in dispute so far as these proceedings are concerned. The Revenue Solicitor entered an appearance on behalf of the defendant in these proceedings on the 21st October, 2011.

  3. At the heart of the facts giving rise to this present application is the plaintiff’s insistence that he is entitled to serve the defendant in person, both at her place of employment and at her home, her nomination of a solicitor to defend the proceedings notwithstanding. The undisputed evidence is that the plaintiff has, in fact, done just this. Thus, for example, in November, 2011 Mr. O’Reilly arrived at Ms. Hallihan’s workplace and announced that he had High Court proceedings for service on her. A month later, Mr. O’Reilly arrived at Ms. Hallihan’s own family home and when she was not present, served pleadings in this case on her elderly and frail father who lives nearby.

  4. Ms. Hallihan was naturally upset by these developments. She maintains his insistence on serving her personally with pleadings and correspondence has given rise to inconvenience in her defence of these proceedings, and is an interference with her entitlement to retain legal representation for the purposes of her defence. One can also immediately understand how insisting on personal service on a litigant in such...

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