Supreme Court Suggests A Second Layer Of Appeal May Lie In Certain Circuit Court Cases

Author:Mr Ronan Geary
Profession:Ronan Daly Jermyn

On 7 February, 2018 the Supreme Court issued a Determination in the case of Gearoid Costelloe v Dominic Carney & Niamh Carney [2018] IESCDET 28 (per Clarke CJ, McMenamin J. and O'Malley J.) This Determination has kept open the possibility that an anomaly arising from the 33rd Amendment of the Constitution (setting up the Court of Appeal), which amended Article 34 of the Constitution, may give rise to a second layer of appeal for Circuit Court cases where certain criteria are met. Accordingly, the Determination has left open the possibility that in certain cases a decision of the Circuit Court can be appealed to the High Court and, thereafter, further appealed to the Supreme Court. This obviously gives rise to a possible change to the appellate structure of the Circuit Court for the first time in over 80 years.

The case itself concerned a lay litigant principal over whose company's assets a Receiver had been appointed in November 2013, and in particular the validity of the subsequent possession taken by the Receiver of a premises in Cork City in March 2014. When the Appellant re-entered the premises by force subsequently, an interim injunction was obtained by the Receiver against him and this interim injunction was confirmed at the interlocutory stage in April 2014. Thereafter, final judgment was obtained against the Appellant in May 2015 but this decision of the Circuit Court was appealed to the High Court. Mr. Justice Noonan then upheld the Circuit Court's decision at a High Court hearing in March 2017. In the present Appeal the Appellant sought leave from the Supreme Court to bring a full appeal to it in relation to the decision of Mr. Justice Noonan (itself on appeal) with the basis for the further appeal largely relating to whether the Circuit Court had been the correct Court in which to bring the proceedings in the first place (having regard to issues pertaining to the rateable valuation of the premises).

The Supreme Court accordingly had to determine whether it would give leave for a full appeal to be made to it of the Judgement of Mr. Justice Noonan but, in this regard and having considered the matter, concluded that the issue raised in the present matter before it was an issue that had already been determined in a previous case, being Permanent TSB Plc v Langan [2017] IESC 71. In the circumstances the Court found "it is not necessary to consider whether the Constitutional threshold for leave to appeal is met" in this case.


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