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32 Cards in this Set

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Justice Administered in Public
Article 34.1
‘Justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by this Constitution and, save in such special and limited cases as may be prescribed by law, shall be administered in public’.
Justice Administered in Public
‘In camera’ proceedings should be avoided but privacy may be required in certain circumstances

Family law proceedings are in camera, and judge can exclude public from trials involving particular sexual offences / offences of obscene nature

Section 45(1) (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961: provides for a number of cases which can be heard in camera. Determining factor is urgency / sensitivity

S.205 Companies Act 1963: application for winding up can be heard in camera
Re R Limited - Ryanair
HELD: Company director (Michael O'Leary) refused in camera hearing. In camera hearing can only be held where necessary to ensure justice will be done. Any exclusion from the public must be prescribed by law.

The issue before this Court touches a fundamental principle of the administration of justice in a democratic state, namely the administration of justice in public. . ... The actual presence of the public is never necessary but the administration of justice in public does require that the doors of the courts must be open so that members of the general public may come and see for themselves that justice is done. It is in no way necessary that the members of the public to whom the courts are open should themselves have any particular interest in the cases or that they should have had any business in the courts. Justice is administered in public on behalf of all the inhabitants of the State.
Irish Press v Ingersoll
HELD: ‘overriding concern of justice’ when considering whether proceedings heard in camera
Roe v Blood Transfusion Board
FACTS: did plaintiff have right to an assumed name?

HELD: No. Plaintiff did not fall within a statutory exemption to ‘in public’ requirement in Art 34.1

Therefore, court could only grant exemptions to ‘in public’ rule where permitted by legislation

Laffoy J referred to the comments by Walsh J in the RE R Ltd case concerning the philosophy behind the constitutional requirement for justice to be heard in public. In this case, the plaintiff was claiming damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the defendant's negligence in producing blood products. The plaintiff had contacted the hepatitis C virus. The plaintiff sought a court order allowing her to bring the personal injuries proceedings under an assumed name. On the basis that the plaintiff did not fall within one of the statutory exemptions from the "in public" requirement of Article 34.1, Laffoy J considered that she had no jurisdiction to make any such orders. She believed that the vital issue of the general public being able to see for themselves that justice is done would not be satisfied if the plaintiff were permitted to use "a fictitious name to keep her identity out of the public domain."
The Irish Times v Ireland
HELD: the courts do have an inherent jurisdiction to order hearings ‘otherwise than in public’. For example, right to a fair trial (Art 38.1) was superior to Art 34.1

In that case, both the High Court and the Supreme Court held that the courts enjoy an inherent jurisdiction to order hearings "otherwise than in public" and to restrict press reporting thereon. Denham J noted that "while there is no discretion in Article 34.1 to order a trial otherwise than in public, Article 34.1 does not exist in a vacuum. There are competing constitutional rights, rights relating to other persons and in addition the court has duties under the Constitution." This included an accused person's right to a fair trial (Article 38.1) which she believed was superior to any rights arising from the provisions of Article 34.1.

Keane J agreed with the reasoning of Denham J While the requirement for justice to be administered in public could not be used to deprive the media completely of the power to publish contemporaneous reports of court proceedings, the right of the public to be informed of such proceedings was not an absolute right. At times, it had to yield to other constitutional rights and Article 38.1 in particular.
Re Ansbacher (Cayman) Ltd
HELD: High Court interpreted Irish Times decision as applying to criminal cases only.

McCracken J rejected the applicant's argument that his constitutional right to privacy and his right to a good name justified a hearing in camera or for the hearing to be conducted without identifying the applicants or under a pseudonym. While McCracken J did not believe that he was creating a hierarchy of rights in this case, if he had to do so, he would "have no hesitation whatever in saying that the right to have justice administered in public far exceeds any right to privacy, confidentially or a good name." This would seem to accord with the view of Laffoy J in the Roe case.
Doe v Revenue Commissioners
FACTS: plaintiffs wanted anonymity to prevent details of revenue matters being made public

HELD: identity of the parties must be made public to ensure justice being done in public
Judicial Independence
Judges are immune from suit in re acts done / words spoken in judicial capacity. Desmond v Riordan: immunity is limited in re the lower courts

Judges should be independent from political pressure O’Byrne v Minister for Finance

Judges are not eligible to be members of Oireachtas or to hold any other office or position of emolument

Orders for costs against Judges in JR proceedings should be avoided, and limited to where mala fides / impropriety on the part of the Judge

Article 35.5: judges pay may be reduced whilst in office
Removal of Judges
Article 35.4

Curtin v Dail Eireann

FACTS: Curtin challenged the procedures used by the Oireachtas in pursuit of Art 35.4.1 powers, arguing that Oireachtas investigation must involve process of adjudication on truth of the charge before passing resolution

HELD: Oireachtas has power, under Constitution, to consider whether a judge has misbehaved. Could appoint a Committee to assist. Judge is entitled to fair hearing
Outline of Courts System
Constitution only specifically refers to Supreme and High Court

Circuit and District Court come within phrase ‘courts of local and limited jurisdiction’
Article 34.2- Courts of First Instance and a Court of Final Appeal, and

Article 34.3.4- the courts of first instance shall include courts of local and limited jurisdiction
Courts of local and limited jurisdiction
Article 34.3.4 the Courts of First Instance shall also include Courts of local and limited jurisdiction with a right of appeal as determined by law.

Circuit Court and District Court

Important role in the court structure- ensure a local and less expensive venue for litigation in comparison to the High Court

Words ‘local and limited’ illustrate:

(i) geographical limit on jurisdiction of the 2 Courts
(ii) the nature of the cases

District Court:

24 districts

Monetary jurisdiction: €6350

Jurisdiction in criminal matters limited to offences

Circuit Court:

8 circuits

Monetary jurisdiction: €38,092 / rateable valuation of land: €252.95

Criminal matters: place of offence / arrest: determines circuit

Civil matters: rules of locality determine circuit
Minor & Non-Minor Offences
Different jurisdictions dependent on whether offence is ‘minor’

Minor offences tried by courts of summary jurisdiction

Summary offences: heard by Judge without Jury

Indictable offences: heard with jury

Melling v O’Mathghamhna:

2 major considerations when deciding whether offence is minor:

(i)Severity of punishment under Statute

(ii)Moral quality of the acts
Melling v O’Mathghamhna:
2 major considerations when deciding whether offence is minor:

(i)Severity of punishment under Statute

(ii)Moral quality of the acts
Severity of Penalty
If there is a range of penalties, which is relevant?

Melling: did not consider maximum fine

O’Sullivan v Hartnett: Evaluate severity of the crime in context of likely sentence (do not consider maximum)

Rollinson: mixed opinions

Pre-1937 Legislation

Rollinson: assess pre-1937 fines by reference to standards or values current at the time of imposition of the penalty
O’Sullivan v Hartnett
Evaluate severity of the crime in context of likely sentence (do not consider maximum)
Moral Quality of the Act
Conroy v AG: look at the crime itself.

Some offences can never be considered ‘non-minor’ (murder, rape)
The High Court
Article 34.3.1 specifies that the court of first instance shall include a High Court - with full original jurisdiction and power in relation to all matters of law or fact, civil and criminal
R v R
FACTS: could family law legislation direct that family law matters originate in the lower courts to the exclusion of the High Court?

HELD: legislation cannot remove or restrict the jurisdiction of the High Court but can give lower courts concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court, which was the case here. High Court can insist that the case originate in a lower court if satisfied that justice could be done there.
Tormey v Ireland
HELD: The word ‘full’ was not to be interpreted literally as there were some matters which the High Court did not have the power to hear e.g. Article 26 references. The existence of the lower courts did not have to be considered as a qualification on the power of the High Court.
O’R v O’R
HELD: in family law matters, High Court should decline jurisdiction in favour of lower courts, unless would lead to denial of justice

Furthermore, under Art 36, Oireachtas is bound to introduce legislation to regulate the court system, and the Courts should respect wishes of Oireachtas
Judicial Review Jurisdiction
Art 34.3.2
‘Save as otherwise provided by this Article, the jurisdiction of the High Court shall extend to the question of the validity of any law having regard to the provisions of this Constitution, and no such question shall be raised (whether by pleading, argument or otherwise) in any Court established under this or any other Article of this Constitution other than the High Court or the Supreme Court’.

Lower Courts cannot declare existence of new rights (IOT v B), or exercise powers of Judicial Review (DPP v Donegan)

Lower Courts do enforce constitutional rights, such as rights to natural justice
People (DPP) v S(M)
HELD: Circuit Court could not determine whether pre-1937 legislation was inconsistent with the Constitution, nor with the ECHR (not yet incorporated into Irish law)
-Reference to Hamilton CJ in IOT v B:

"I am satisfied that it was the intention of the framers of the Constitution that all matters pertaining to the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution should be decided by the courts whose jurisdiction derives from the Constitution itself and not by courts of limited and local jurisdiction whose jurisdiction is derived from Acts of the Oireachtas."
The Supreme Court
Article 34.4.1 the Court of Final Appeal is to be called the Supreme Court.

Article 34.4.3 & 34.4.4 the Supreme Court is to have appellate jurisdiction from High Court subject to such exceptions as laid down in law and shall have appellate jurisdiction from other courts as provided for by law.

Therefore there is an automatic appeal from the High Court to the Supreme Court unless legislation specifies otherwise. There is only a right of appeal from other courts to the Supreme Court if provided for by law.
State (Browne) v Feran
‘All decisions’ interpreted in a literal manner.
People v O’Shea
'All decisions’ means appeal can be taken against acquittal

•Therefore could re-trial be ordered after successful prosecution appeal?
Quilligan (No.2)
Supreme Court could not agree whether re-trial could be ordered after successful prosecution appeal.
Minister for Justice v Wang Zhu Jie
The right of appeal from High Court to Supreme Court, can be regulated by law (here, by the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act of 1961
Considine v Shannon Regional Fisheries Board
Constitutionality of S.310 of the Fisheries Act 1959 upheld- allowing for appeal by prosecution against acquittal. Oireachtas could provide for appeals through legislation.
Todd v Murphy
FACTS: s.32(1) Courts and Court Officers Act 1995- Circuit Ct Judge could transfer trial of accused to Dublin Circuit, and such decision was ‘final and unappealable’

HELD: Geoghegan J appeared willing in principle to invalidate the provision with reference to 34.3.4. However, the Supreme Court decided the case on standing.
Special Criminal Court
Article 38.3 Constitution

Two ways to transfer to SCC:
(i)Scheduled Offences- Section 36 Offences Against the State Act 1939
(ii)Section 46 of the 1939 Act provides that DPP can issue cert stating SCC more suitable

11 judges, sit in groups of 3 (one District, one Circuit and one High Court Judge)

Right of appeal to Court of Criminal Appeal
Court of Criminal Appeal
Established by Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act 1961

Hears appeals in criminal matters

Sits as three judge court (two High Court and one Supreme Court judge)

Hears appeals on basis of transcript of evidence

Majority judgment only