State (Keegan & Lysaght) v Stardust Victims Compensation Tribunal

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date01 January 1987
Date01 January 1987
Docket Number[1986 No. 271 SS]
CourtSupreme Court
(H.C., S.C.)
The State (Keegan and Lysaght)
and
Stardust Victims Compensation Tribunal

Tribunal established to award compensation to victims of fire - Claimant and his wife seeking compensation for nervous shock - Both claims arising out of similar circumstances - Tribunal awarding compensation to wife but not to claimant - Whether decision unreasonable or irrational - Test to be applied.Judicial review - Prohibition - Difficulties experienced by legal advisor in advising clients and obtaining medical reports - Order sought to prevent Tribunal hearing claims - Whether proper ground for issuing prohibition.

The respondent Tribunal was established by virtue of a scheme set up by the Government to award ex gratia compensation in respect of personal injury and loss attributable to a fire at the Stardust dancehall in Artane. County Dublin in 1981. The first prosecutor and his wife submitted claims to the Tribunal in respect of the deaths of two of their daughters in the fire (as dependants of those two people) and separate claims on their own behalf for damages for nervous shock suffered by them as a result of the deaths of their daughters and the serious injuries sustained by a third daughter in the fire. Neither the prosecutor nor his wife suffered any physical injuries in the fire. At the hearing of the claims it was agreed between the parties and accepted by the Tribunal that the nervous shock claims should be adjudicated upon in accordance with the principles enunciated by the House of Lords in McLoughlinv. O'BrianELR [1983] 1 A.C. 410. The first prosecutor's wife was awarded £50,000 by the Tribunal as compensation for nervous shock but the Tribunal refused to award the first prosecutor any such compensation and further refused to award him his costs of legal representation. The prosecutors obtained a conditional order of certiorari in the High Court quashing the decision of the Tribunal to refuse the first prosecutor compensation for nervous shock and his legal costs and also a conditional order of prohibition restraining the Tribunal from proceeding to deal with further claims being handled by the second prosecutor (the first prosecutor's solicitor) on the ground that as a result of the instant decision of the Tribunal he was having difficulty in advising his clients and obtaining medical reports. On the prosecutors' motion to make the conditional orders absolute notwithstanding cause shown it was argued on their behalf that the refusal by...

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1 firm's commentaries
  • Judicial Review: Setting Aside Decisions For 'Unreasonableness'
    • Ireland
    • Mondaq Ireland
    • 8 May 2012
    ...and refined in tests set out in the respective Supreme Court decisions in The State (Keegan) v Stardust Compensation Tribunal [1986] I.R. 642 and O'Keeffe v An Bord Pleanala [1993] I.R. 39. In Ireland, therefore, the standard of review on the ground of unreasonableness is often referred to ......
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