Riordan v Ireland (No 4)

Judgment Date19 October 2001
Date19 October 2001
Docket Number[S.C. No. 202 of 1998]
CourtSupreme Court
Riordan v. Ireland (No. 4)
Denis Riordan
An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, The Government of Ireland, Dáil Éireann éireann, The Minister for the Environment, The Attorney General and Ireland (No. 4)
[S.C. No. 202 of 1998]

Supreme Court

Courts - Supreme Court - Composition of court - Application for stay - Application for stay not heard by court consisting of five members - Whether requirement that court of five judges hear application - Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961 (No. 39), s. 7(5).

Constitution - Right of access of citizen to courts - Restriction of right of access - Whether repeated litigation by applicant abuse of process of courts - Whether court entitled to restrict right of access of citizen to court.

The applicant contended that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution Act, 1998, was unconstitutional in that it provided for the amendment of the Constitution without a referendum taking place pursuant to Article 46 of the Constitution. The High and Supreme Courts dismissed the application. Costs in both courts were awarded against the applicant.

The applicant sought a stay on the orders for costs made against him. The applicant further sought to have the various orders made by the Supreme Court set aside on the ground that they had been made by a court consisting of three judges and not five and to have his appeal reinstated for hearing by a full Supreme Court.

Held by the Supreme Court (Keane C.J., Murphy and Hardiman JJ.), in dismissing the appeal and in restraining the applicant from instituting further proceedings against the respondents without first obtaining the prior leave of the court, 1, that there was no requirement that every matter coming before the Supreme Court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction could only be exercised by a court consisting of all the members of the court for the time being.

2. That no such provision existed either in the Constitution or in statute law, nor could one exist given the extent of the court's appellate jurisdiction and the necessity to ensure, in the interests of the proper administration of justice, its reasonable expeditious and economic dispatch.

3. That, as no question as to the validity of any law having regard to the provisions of the Constitution was raised on the current motion, there was no requirement that the application be heard by a court consisting of at least five members.

4. That the court was bound to uphold the rights of other citizens, including their right to be protected from unnecessary harassment and expense, and those rights were enjoyed by the holders of public offices as well as by private citizens.

5. That there was in the Supreme Court an inherent jurisdiction to restrain the institution of proceedings by named persons in order to ensure that the process of the court was not abused by repeated attempts to reopen litigation or to pursue litigation which was plainly groundless and vexatious, and the proper administration of justice required the making of such an order against the applicant.

There are no cases mentioned in this report.

Motion on notice.

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

By motion on notice dated the 28th September, 2001, the applicant sought a stay on orders for...

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42 cases
  • Riordan v Government of Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 27 Mayo 2009
  • McMahon & Sharma v WJ Law & Company LLP and Others
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 15 Junio 2007
    ... ... 30 30. Reference was also made in the context of an "Isaac Wunder" order to the judgment of Ó Caoimh J. in Riordan v. Ireland (No. 5) [2001] 4 I.R. 463 and in particular six features therein identified justifying the making of such an order ... (1) ... ...
  • Smith v ACC Loan Management Ltd
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 21 Julio 2017
    ...underlies the power of the court to make Isaac Wunder Orders, as is clear from Keane CJ's judgement in Riordan v. Ireland [2001] 3 IR 365 at p. 370. 44 Such an Order would not prevent Mr. Murphy acting as a McKenzie Friend, but it would put a filter on the right of a litigant to use Mr. Mu......
  • SP v UG
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 10 Junio 2016
    ...analyse the limits of the Isaac Wunder relief referring to the analysis of Keane C.J. in his judgment in Riordan v. Ireland No. 4 [2001] 3 IR 365 the submissions made the following observations in relation to the treatment of the litigation in the Riordan v. Ireland [2001] 3 IR 365 case by ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Inherent jurisdiction and inherent powers of irish courts
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal No. 2-9, July 2009
    • 1 Julio 2009
    ...149 In the matter of Vantive Holdings and in the matter of the Companies Acts 1963-2006 [2009] I.E.S.C. 69. 150 Riordan v. An Taoiseach [2001] 3 I.R. 365. 151 Slough Estates Ltd. v. Slough Borough Council [1968] Ch. 299. 152 De Jersey, “The Inherent Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court” (note ......

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