In Re K. A Ward of Court, [2001] IESC 3 (2001)

Docket Number:169/00
Judge:Denham J. / Geoghegan J.




Denham J.

McGuinness J.

Geoghegan J.




Judgment of Mrs. Justice Denham delivered on the 19th day of January, 2001

1. Facts

This is an appeal by C.K., hereinafter referred to as the applicant, against the order made by the learned President of the High Court on 9th June, 2000. The facts of the case relate to a ward of court, P.K., hereinafter referred to as the ward of court. The ward of court was born in 1941, and sustained a head injury in 1976 which affected his mental capacity. In 1983 he was awarded damages in a personal injury action and admitted to wardship. His sister, C.K., the applicant herein, was appointed Committee of his Person and Estate.

Prior to the personal injury the ward of court had married and had one son. However, his marriage appears to have broken down in 1979, his wife and son reside elsewhere. The ward of court resides with the applicant in premises which were purchased out of the proceeds of his personal injury claim. The applicant together with her partner and son have cared for the ward of court since 1979. He did well in this environment and played a part in the household. However, in 1999 the ward of court swallowed a chicken bone that lodged in his large intestine. This led to septicaemia. He was admitted to hospital and after a long period in intensive care he returned to his home with the applicant in a severely disabled state. He is now totally blind, he speaks with great difficulty, he cannot walk, wash, dress, feed or toilet himself without assistance.

2. Judicial Review Proceedings

There have been convoluted court proceedings in this matter. On the 13th April, 2000, a motion came before Kelly J. in the High Court on behalf of the applicant seeking leave ex parte to apply for judicial review. It was ordered in the proceedings, which were against the Northern Area Health Board:

"1. that the Minister for Health and Children, Ireland and the Attorney General

be joined as Notice Parties to these proceedings

2. that the said Applicant do have leave to apply by way of application for judicial review for the aforesaid reliefs on the grounds set forth at paragraph D in the said statement

3. that the said Applicant do within 10 days from the date of perfection of this

Order, serve an originating Notice of Motion together with copies of the

aforesaid Statement and verifying Affidavit and of this Order on the

Respondent and on the Chief State Solicitor on behalf of the Notice Parties.

4. that the costs of this application and Order be reserved."

The reliefs included the following:

"(i) Injunction or order of mandamus directing that the Respondents or one of

them to provide appropriate community care services to [P-K-] in his

home... so that his existing and future needs and just quality of life can be

maintained; the precise requirements of such order to be determined at the

trial of this application for judicial review;

(ii) Alternatively, an order that the Respondents or one of them shall fund the

provision of such service presently costing approximately £750 per week;"

On an application of counsel for the respondent in relation to the issue of jurisdiction on the 2nd June, 2000, Kelly J. made an order which stayed these proceedings pending an application for directions being made to the President of the High Court and also ordered that

nothing be published that would identify the ward of court.

3. The President of the High Court

The matter coming before the President of the High Court, he delivered judgment on the 9th June, 2000, as follows:

"The Applicant Ms.K- got leave to seek Judicial Review for the reliefs set out in the Notice of Motion in these proceedings i.e. J.R. No. 168/2000. When the matter came

before Mr. Justice Kelly, he was referred to s. 9 of The Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961 and rightly stayed these proceedings.

The parties thereafter attended in my chambers. Counsel on behalf of Ms.K-

applied for leave to continue the proceedings. I refused this application. I indicated

that there was a recognised and approved procedure for obtaining the approval of the

President of the High Court for the institution of proceedings on behalf of a Ward of

Court. Such application is made by the Committee of the estate of the Ward and the

merits of the application are considered inter alia on the prospects of success of the

contemplated action. Accordingly, Counsel's Opinion is normally furnished. I

indicated to the Applicants that I would immediately entertain any such application.

I would have thought that such an application would have been made but in fact no

such application was made to me.

With regard to...

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