Saturday 18 November 2017

Ivor Callely must pay his own costs in expenses case

Tim Healy

THE Supreme Court has ruled a Seanad Committee and former Senator Ivor Callely must each pay their own costs of the legal battle over his expenses.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court, by a four to three majority, ruled the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests was entitled to conclude Mr Callely had in 2008 misrepresented his normal place of residence as being in Kilcrohane House, Bantry, Cork, rather than Clontarf in Dublin, when claiming expenses.


The appeal arose out of a January 2011 High Court finding that there had been a breach of fair procedures when the Seanad Committee decided in July 2010 that he had deliberately misrepresented his place of residence.  


The Supreme Court allowed the Committee's appeal on April 9 last and it heard legal submissions on costs issues yesterday.


Giving the ruling on costs, Chief Justice Susan Denham said the court had decided to make no order for costs given the significance and importance of a constitutional issue raised in the case by the Committee.


That issue related to whether the Constitution permitted decisions of the Oireachtas relating to disciplining of their own members to be subject to judicial review.  


In its judgment on the case, the majority court had ruled those decisions were non-justiciable in accordance with Article 15.10 of the Constitution relating to the separation of powers between organs of the State.


That finding, the court stressed,  does not mean proceedings of the Oireachtas are immune from scrutiny or that its members lose their constitutional rights.  It was the function of the courts to determine the proper boundaries of the exercise of legislative power in each case which requires that such matters be non-justiciable, they said.

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