Judgments from most of yesterday’s big day have appeared online. The glut of judgments is prompted by the imminent retirements of Judges Macken and Finnegan–it seems that Supreme Court judges, like most of us, have a tendency to work right up to a deadline. I wish I had time to explain these in more detail, but here are some links.
Damache v. DPP  IESC 11: The applicant challenged section 29(1) of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, which allows a Garda Superintendent to issue a search warrant without judicial authorization. The Court ruled that the provision is unconstitutional (at least presumptively) when (i) the warrant is issued by a member of the Garda investigating team; and (ii) the warrant authorizes a search of the suspect’s dwelling. The Chief Justice announced the Court’s decision with a written judgment here. TJ McIntyre has commentary here.
MD (a minor) v. Ireland  IESC 10: Court finds that the unequal under-age sex laws–which exempt girls under 17, but not boys, from prosecution for the offence of unlawful sexual intercourse–do not violate the Constitution. The Chief Justice announced the Court’s decision here. The Court followed the reasoning of the High Court, and of the US Supreme Court in the Michael M case, that this sort of differential treatment is permissible because girls can get pregnant, while boys can’t.
Viridian Power v Commissioner for Energy Regulation  IESC 13: This case raises complex questions about the legal regime for setting electricity prices. It ended in a victory for two power station owners; the Court upheld their challenge to a decision of the Commissioner for Energy Regulation. Judge Hardiman wrote the majority decision, available here (Judges Murray and Macken agreed). The Chief Justice dissented here. (Judge McKechnie also dissented). The question on the appeal, as expressed by Judge Hardiman, was this: “Is the amount of a carbon levy a cost which the applicants are entitled to take into account in calculating the price at which they bid for the supply of electricity?” Answer: “yes”.
Goodwin v. Bus Éireann  IESC 9: The Court affirmed the High Court’s decision in this personal injuries case. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff had forfeited her right to recover damages by giving misleading evidence; the High Court disagreed and the Supreme Court saw no reason to interfere. Judge Fennelly wrote for the Court here. The case is something of a companion piece to Ahern v. Bus Éireann (see here); both involve unsuccessful attempts by Bus Éireann to invoke section 26 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.
Re Flightlease  IESC 12: This case arises out of the cross-border insolvency of the Swiss Air group of companies. It raised technically difficult but interesting questions about private international law. Judge Finnegan wrote the main judgment (his swansong, it seems); Judge O’Donnell wrote a concurring judgment here.
In addition, the Court’s judgment in Lett v Wexford Borough Council, a tale of mussels, government incompetence, and legitimate expectations, is now available here, three weeks after the decision was handed down.