I intend to return to full service blogging the week after next. During my blogging hiatus, I have missed a few important events at the Supreme Court, including the ongoing seven-judge hearing in Marie Fleming’s challenge to the criminalization of assisted suicide. The press, at least, has been covering the hearing. I think it’s safe now to link to Irish Times articles like this one and this one, without fear of receiving a baseless demand for payment.
Today also brings news that Ali Charaf Damache–the applicant in Damache v. DPP–is now the subject of extradition proceedings aimed at bringing him to the United States to stand trial on conspiracy charges. So it seems an opportune moment to direct readers to my recently published article in volume 1 of the Irish Law Journal. The article is entitled Self-Service Search Warrants and International Terrorism: Lessons from Damache v. DPP. Here’s the abstract:
… keep reading Damache and the Irish Law Journal
On Tuesday of next week, all 27 judges of the European Court of Justice will hear oral argument in Pringle v Ireland. The future of the European Stability Mechanism depends upon it.
There is precious little information about the case on the website of the Court of Justice. But I’m very pleased to able to share Mr. Pringle’s written observations. These observations have been submitted to the Court of Justice prior to the hearing. (Many thanks to Joe Noonan of Noonan Linehan Carroll Coffey, Mr. Pringle’s solicitors). The document is accessible at this link in pdf format.
If the State, or any other party, wishes to share its written observations, I’ll be happy to host them here too.
When I had the idea to start this blog, one of the questions I asked myself was: how will I preview upcoming cases in the Supreme Court? The answer seemed obvious. Having spent some time in the American federal courts system, I assumed that there would be a way for me to see court documents filed by the parties. Parties before the Irish Supreme Court have to email written submissions to the Court in the weeks leading up to the hearing (see Practice Direction SC13.7). My “big sister”, the American SCOTUSBlog, invariably posts copies of the parties’ written submissions. I reckoned I could do something similar in Ireland, or at least take a look at what the parties were saying to the Court.
I was wrong.
… keep reading Public Access to Irish Court Documents
The news reporters who cover the Irish courts have focused their attention elsewhere this week, but for me the big story is the hearing in Pringle v. Government of Ireland. Thomas Pringle has just tweeted that the Supreme Court has decided to refer to the Court of Justice for the European Union this question: is the ESM Treaty compatible with the foundational treaties of the EU?
This appears to be a much broader question than the one Judge Laffoy proposed to send to Luxembourg, so the Supreme Court might be better disposed to Pringle’s EU law arguments than the High Court. (Here’s my discussion of the issues from earlier this week.) On the other hand, the Supreme Court, a court of last resort, is required to refer questions to the CJEU in certain circumstances. This is now a European story, rather than just an Irish story. We should have more details later in the day.
UPDATE: Pringle’s solicitors (also using Twitter) say the Supreme Court is sending the following three questions to the CJEU (for explanation of the Council Decision and the ESM Treaty, see Monday’s post):
1. Was the Council Decision authorizing the creation of the ESM a valid amendment of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU?
2. May a state join the ESM before the Council Decision comes into effect at the beginning of next year? (This is the timing issue that Judge Laffoy would have referred)
3. Is the ESM Treaty compatible with the EU’s foundational treaties?
Also this morning in the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice set a date for Sean Quinn Jr.’s appeal from his coercive prison term for contempt of court–in October. That gives some indication of her view as to the merits of his challenge.
Last night, the Chief Justice gave a wide-ranging speech advocating reform of the Irish courts system, at a conference to mark the 75th anniversary of the Constitution. I’ll have to comment on it at some later date; until then, I’ll just point you to an abridged version of the speech–available here .
Just a note to let readers know that you can now subscribe to receive blog posts from Ex Tempore by email. There’s a box on right-hand side of the blog for you to enter your email address. (An earlier attempt at setting up an email subscription failed, but this one works).
On Saturday last, Donncha O’Connell — of NUIG and the Law Reform Commission — presented a paper to the Sheehy-Skeffington Spring School. The paper is titled “Human Rights — What Ireland says, and what it does: the case for an alternative compliance model”. It’s more complex than this, but one main theme is that supporters of human rights should place less faith in international treaties and conventions, and put more of their energies into domestic public interest litigation, via NGOs funded by private philanthropy. The last paragraph:
There are a wealth of mechanisms, hard laws, soft laws and other resources available for the advancement of human rights.
… keep reading Donncha O’Connell on Human Rights
It’s another relatively quiet week in the Supreme Court. On Thursday, the Court will deliver judgment in Coleman v. MGN, the case the Court didn’t get around to deciding before Judge Finnegan’s retirement. I am assuming it’s a defamation case, just from the name (MGN being Mirror Group News). In addition, on Friday, the Court will hear the appeal in Criminal Assets Bureau v. Connors, a case for which there is no available lower-court judgment.
The Court released a couple more judgments last week; I will aim to post links over the next few days.
The Donegan-Gallagher judgment still isn’t on the Courts Service website, but you can download an unapproved version from the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) website. Go here.
UPDATE: The judgment is now on the Courts Service website, here.
The government has just announced that it will make Judge Frank Clarke and Judge John MacMenamin members of the Supreme Court. Shooting from the hip–this is a blog, after all–here are a few quick comments.
First of all, the government seems to have bypassed the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB) process in making these appointments. (The statute allows this where the nominee is already a judge). Truth be told, the JAAB appears to have become something of a formality, at least when it comes to Supreme Court appointments, but it’s significant that the government didn’t even bother jumping through this hoop.
In an article a couple of months ago decrying excessive political influence
… keep reading New Judges on the Supreme Court
The blog has been rather dominated by the retirement/rehearing issue since Friday, so why not another post?
I might have noticed on Friday that the Legal Diary lists a case called Coleman v. MGN as being “At Hearing” in the Supreme Court on 8th March. “At Hearing”, as I understand it, is the Legal Diary’s nomenclature for a continuing hearing. (Cases being heard for the first time are designated “For Hearing”. ) Coleman v. MGN is presumably a defamation action, with a name like that; the appeal was filed early in 2007. The case was initially listed “For Hearing” on 21st October 2010. Back then, there were five judges hearing the appeal: Murray CJ, Denham, Hardiman, Fennelly, and Macken JJ. Now, the same judges, minus Judge Macken, plus Judge O’Donnell, will be hearing the case. This looks like a retirement-induced-rehearing to me.
As if in rebuke to Friday’s speculation about what would happen if the Court couldn’t resolve appeals heard by the retiring judges, the Court has scheduled judgment in four more cases on Thursday. On that day, there will be judgment in the following five cases:
442/09 O’Sullivan v The Law Society (brief preview here)
284/06 Flightlease (Irl) Ltd (In vol liq) & Cos Act (no preview; hearing may predate this blog)
262/08 Goodwin v Bus Eireann (very brief preview here)
285/11 Viridian Power v Commissioner for Energy Regulation (preview here)
176/10 MD (minor) v Ireland AG & DPP (preview here)
The MD case is the most eyecatching of these, I think. This may just be the start; I think there are more unresolved Macken-and-or-Finnegan cases out there.