Seamus Quinn and Others v Ireland, Attorney General and The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Others

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeDenham J.
Judgment Date29 March 2007
Neutral Citation[2006] IESC 65
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number[S.C. Nos. 387, 388 & 389 of 2005
Date28 November 2006
QUINN & TECTOR v IRELAND & ORS
Between/
Seamus Quinn
Applicant/Appellant

and

Ireland, the Attorney General, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
Respondents
Between/
Darragh Quinn
Applicant/Appellant
And Ireland, the Attorney General, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
Respondents
Between/
Neil Tector
Applicant/Appellant

and

Ireland, the Attorney General and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
Respondents

[2006] IESC 65

Denham J.

Hardiman J.

Geoghegan J.

Fennelly J.

Macken J.

[S.C. No. 387 of 2005]
[S.C. No. 388 of 2005]
[S.C. No. 389 of 2005]

THE SUPREME COURT

ANIMAL REMEDIES REGS 1996 SI 179/1996 REG 4

CONTROL OF ANIMAL REMEDIES & THEIR RESIDUES REGS 1998 SI 507/1998 REG 3(5)

ANIMAL REMEDIES (AMDT) REGS 2002 SI 44/2002

ANIMAL REMEDIES REGS 1996 SI 179/1996 REG 6

ANIMAL REMEDIES REGS 1996 SI 179/1996 REG 26

ANIMAL REMEDIES REGS 1996 SI 179/1996 REG 33(2)

CONTROL OF ANIMAL REMEDIES & THEIR RESIDUES REGS 1998 SI 507/1998 REG 21(1)

ANIMAL REMEDIES ACT 1993 S20

ANIMAL REMEDIES ACT 1993 S23

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES ACT 1972 S3(2)

ANIMAL REMEDIES ACT 1993 S8(3)(b)

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (AMDT) ACT 1973 S1

ANIMAL REMEDIES ACT 1956ANIMAL REMEDIES ACT 1993 S8(2)(b)(x)

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES ACT 1972 S8(8)

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES ACT 1972 S4(1)(a)

1

Judgment delivered on the 28th day of November, 2006 by Denham J.

2

1. Seamus Quinn, Darragh Quinn and Neil Tector, the applicants/appellants, hereinafter referred to as "the applicants", have brought this appeal from the order of the High Court (Abbott J.) made on the 11th October, 2005 and perfected on 28th October, 2005, in which the applicants" application by way of judicial review for declarations and an order of prohibition was refused.

3

2. The applicants brought separate proceedings seeking the same relief on the same grounds. Each of the applicants is alleged to have contravened various provisions of the Animal Remedies Regulations, 1996 ("the 1996 Regulations") as amended by the Control of Animal Remedies and their Residues Regulations, 1998 ("the 1998 Regulations") and the Animal Remedies (Amendment) Regulations, 2002 ("the 2002 Regulations") and/or provisions of the 1998 Regulations as amended by the 2002 Regulations.

4

The first named applicant, Seamus Quinn, was served with 61 summonses in total reciting contraventions of regulation 4 of the 1996 Regulations, contraventions of regulation 6 of the 1996 Regulations and contraventions of regulation 3 (5) of the 1998 Regulations.

5

The second named applicant, Darragh Quinn, was served with 47 summonses alleging contraventions of regulation 4 and regulation 26 and regulation 33(2) of the 1996 Regulations, and contraventions of regulation 6 of the 1996 Regulations, and contraventions of regulation 3(5) of the 1998 Regulations.

6

The third named applicant, Neil Tector, was served with two summonses alleging contraventions of regulation 21(1) of the 1998 Regulations.

7

In each summons it is alleged that, in contravening a particular provision of the 1996 or 1998 Regulations, the applicant has committed an offence pursuant to s. 20 of the Animal Remedies Act 1993("the Act of 1993") and that this offence is punishable under s. 23 of the Act of 1993.

8

The applicants are seeking declarations that the 1996 Regulations, the 1998 Regulations and the 2002 Regulations are ultra vires the provisions of section 3(2) of the European Communities Act, 1972("the Act of 1972") and a declaration that regulation 21(1) of the 1998 Regulations contravened section 4(1) of the Act of 1972.

9

3. The learned High Court judge delivered a reserved judgment in this matter, from which the applicants have filed a notice of appeal on the following grounds:

10

a "(a) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law in failing to include section 28 of the Animal Remedies Act, 1993under the heading "relevant legislation" set out at pages 4 to 8 of the unapproved judgment. Section 28 of the Animal Remedies Act, 1993provides for annulment procedures for every regulation made under the Act and yet the learned Trial Judge under that part of his judgment under the heading "The Effect of Annulment Procedures" at page 21 of the unapproved judgment, found that the regulations in issue were regulations made under the Animal Remedies Act, 1993but that the annulment procedures in s. 28 of the said Act did not apply to them.

11

(b) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law in failing to include s. 4(1)(b) and 4(2)(a)(b) and (c) of the European Communities Act, 1972, as amended, under the heading "relevant legislation" set out at pages 4 to 8 of the unapproved judgment. Section 4(1)(b) and 4(2)(a)(b) and (c) of the European Communities Act, 1972, as amended, sets out the relevant annulment procedures for the regulations in issue but the learned Trial Judge under the heading "The Effect of Annulment Procedures" at page 21 of the unapproved judgment, found that clearly under the Act of 1993 there are two annulment procedures involving the Oireachtas in respect of regulations made under the Act.

12

(c) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law in concluding under the heading "Status of Regulations made under the European Communities Act, 1972, as amended", at page 17 of the unapproved judgment, that there is an entirely separate constitutional and legislative status of two types of provisions each having statutory effect.

13

(d) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law in concluding under the heading "Status of European Acts given effect by the Act of 1993" at page 19 of the unapproved judgment, that the reference in s. 8 subsection (2)(b) to section 3 of the Act of 1972 is not for the purpose of incorporating the regulation into the Act of 1972 or to incorporate the terms and conditions of the Act of 1972 into the Regulation rather it is for the purpose of describing the mechanism by which the regulations made under the Act of 1993 are to have statutory effect.

14

(e) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law in concluding under the heading "Status of European Act given effect by the Act of 1993" at page 19 of the unapproved judgment, that "my conclusions are that the regulations made by the Minister pursuant to his powers under section 8(2)(x) are instruments of European legislation in their own right and quite independent of the Act of 1972 apart from the application thereto of section 4 of the Act of 1972".

15

(f) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law insofar as he concluded that Regulations made pursuant to s. 3 of the Act of 1972 did not form part of the said Act of 1972 inasmuch as the said Regulations were expressed to have statutory effect by the provisions of section 4(1)(a) of the Act of 1972.

16

(g) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law insofar as he held that Regulations made pursuant to s. 8 of the Animal Remedies Act, 1993are not deemed (by virtue of s. 8(3)(b) thereof) to have been pursuant to the provisions of s. 3 of the Act of 1972 and are governed by that latter statutory provision.

17

(h) That the learned Trial Judge erred in law in failing to hold that the provisions of s. 3(3) of the Act of 1972 applied to regulations made pursuant to s. 8 of the Act of 1993 so as to prevent the creation of an indictable offence by regulation.

18

4. Extensive written submissions were filed on behalf of the parties. Oral submissions were made by Mr. James O'Reilly S.C. on behalf of the applicants and by Mr. Maurice Collins S.C. on behalf of the respondents. At the core of the applicants" case was the submission that there was opaque and slack language in s. 8(3)(b) of the Act of 1993, leading to ambiguity, that as a consequence of this ambiguity strict principles of statutory construction should be applied, and that on any such application the Minister has no power to create an indictable offence. Thus it is a case which turns on the construction of statutes.

5. Law
19

The relevant law is as follows:

20

The Act of 1972 provides:

21

2 "2. From the 1st day of January, 1973, the treaties governing the European Communities and the existing and future acts adopted by the institutions of those Communities shall be binding on the State and shall be part of the domestic law thereof under the conditions laid down in those treaties.

22

3. (1) A Minister of State may make regulations for enabling section 2 of this Act to have full effect.

23

(2) Regulations under this section may contain such incidental, supplementary and consequential provisions as appear to the Minister making the regulations to be necessary for the purposes of the regulations (including provisions repealing, amending or applying, with or without modification, other law, exclusive of this Act).

24

(3) Regulations under this section shall not create an indictable offence.

25

..."

26

The European Communities (Amendment) Act, 1973s.1 provided that regulations under the Act should have statutory effect and made provision for annulment in the following terms:

27

2 " 1. - (1) The European Communities Act, 1972, is hereby amended by the substitution for section 4 of the following section:

28

a "(1) (a) Regulations under this Act shall have statutory effect.

29

b (b) If the Joint Committee on the Secondary legislation of the European Communities recommends to the Houses of the Oireachtas that any regulations under this Act be annulled and a resolution annulling the regulations is passed by both such Houses within one year after the regulations are made, the regulations shall be annulled accordingly and shall cease to have statutory effect, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

30

a (2) (a) If when regulations...

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