Ryanair asks judge in 'truth' jibe not to hear case
Published 20/07/2010 | 05:00
RYANAIR has asked the head of the Commercial Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, to disqualify himself from hearing another legal action involving the airline.
Last month, the judge agreed to allow another judge hear proceedings taken by three airport authorities against Ryanair over alleged delays in paying airport charges.
The decision came in the wake of comments by Mr Justice Kelly in another case that the truth and Ryanair were "uncomfortable bedfellows".
However, the judge stressed that in allowing one case to be heard by another judge, this did not mean he would not hear other cases involving the airline.
He said he was not withdrawing "one iota" from his "uncomfortable bedfellows" remark and only allowed the airport charges case to go to another judge in order to save legal costs.
Yesterday, Martin Hayden, for Ryanair, asked the judge not to deal with a case in which the airline is suing a coach company, Terravision London Finance, for €7m over alleged breach of a marketing contract.
The judge adjourned the matter to November after saying he wanted written legal submissions from the airline to support the Ryanair application for another judge.
James Doherty, for Terravision, said his side would be opposing Ryanair's application but did not propose to call evidence in that regard.
In an affidavit supporting the motion, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said Mr Justice Kelly's remarks about the truth and Ryanair were made in other proceedings in which the judge had dismissed Ryanair's bid to secure judicial review of the aviation regulator's decision on new charges at Dublin Airport.
Given the judge's remarks, Ryanair had an apprehension that its version of the facts in the Terravision case would not be accepted or favoured by Mr Justice Kelly, Mr O'Leary said.
The application arose after Mr Justice Kelly remarked in the judicial review proceedings that Ryanair had told untruths to and about the court and about Transport Minister Noel Dempsey.
He said that the untruths were admitted by Ryanair and Mr O'Leary.
It was hard to see how any other judge, given the evidence, could have concluded otherwise, the judge said last month when deciding that another judge would hear the separate action against Ryanair by the three airport authorities.
The judge stressed that his decision to have the authorities' case heard by another judge was to ensure that case was not delayed or made more costly by Ryanair's application for him to withdraw from hearing the case.