Sugg v O'Keeffe and Another

Judgment Date14 October 2005
Neutral Citation[2005] IESC 92
CourtSupreme Court
Date14 October 2005

[2005] IESC 92


Geoghegan J.

McCracken J.

Macken J.



Dismissal of proceedings

Inherent jurisdiction - Failure to disclose cause of action - Medical negligence - Lay litigant - Failure to obtain expert evidence showing negligence - Appeal dismissed; proceedings dismissed (275/03- SC - 14/10/2005) [2005] IESC 92

Sugg v O'Keeffe

the High Court made an order striking out the plaintiff’s action against the defendant for alleged negligence surrounding the death of his wife. The proceedings were not supported by any report from a doctor stating that the plaintiff had a stateable cause of action. The plaintiff appealed against that order to the Supreme Court.

Held by the Supreme Court in refusing the appeal that his negligence claim was an abuse of process given that he had no expert medical opinion supporting the claim.

Reporter: P.C.


JUDGMENT (ex tempore) delivered on the 14th day of October 2005 by GEOGHEGAN J.


This is an appeal brought by the plaintiff, Mr. Sugg, in this action against an order of Mr. Justice de Valera in the High Court, dismissing his action which essentially is a medical negligence action. He is unhappy about that terminology. It is more a question of nomenclature. In legal language, it is essentially a medical negligence action. The statement of claim in the action was struck out and then the action was dismissed. That was in these circumstances. The defendants brought a motion to strike out the action as not showing any cause of action effectively. That got adjourned from time to time. There were all sorts of opportunities given by Mr. Justice de Valera to Mr. Sugg but ultimately, Mr. Justice de Valera refused an adjournment and, in a sense, nothing much on this appeal has turned on that actual refusal of the adjournment though that is what in fact happened. It was in circumstances where, apparently, Mr. Justice de Valera was given some indication that an English solicitor might take up the case. It then emerged there was really no named or no actual English solicitor in the background at all. Obviously, Mr. Justice de Valera regarded the matter as far too speculative. The motion went on and Mr. Justice de Valera then dismissed the action on foot of the...

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2 cases
  • Sugg v Legal Aid Board
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 13 May 2009
    ... ... A court will never hold a professional person guilty of negligence without professional evidence from another professional supporting the assertion of the claim of negligence and that is wholly absent here. There is nothing to support the claim. There are a ... ...
  • Kelly v Sleeman
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 29 October 2020
    ...of any expert evidence against the respondents, the trial judge recalled the judgment of the Supreme Court in Sugg v O'Keeffe & Anor. [2005] IESC 92 wherein Geoghegan J. had stated that: - “A court will never hold a professional person guilty of negligence without professional evidence from......

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