Friday 15 December 2017

Morrison's claim for court costs must wait

Michelle Morrison (right), wife of singer Van Morrison, leaving the High Court yesterday with her sister Laura
Michelle Morrison (right), wife of singer Van Morrison, leaving the High Court yesterday with her sister Laura

Tim Healy

THE question of who pays the costs for a six-day High Court action involving the wife of singer Van Morrison will be dealt with when the case goes to full hearing, a judge said.

On October 7 last, Michelle Morrison received High Court permission to bring a challenge to the alleged failure of her local council to protect her family's privacy when dealing with planning permissions for a neighbour's house in Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna granted leave to Ms Morrison, of Kilross House, Sorrento Road, Dalkey, to seek the quashing of a Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council decision.

That decision had granted a notice of compliance with a planning permission issued for the redevelopment of a neighbouring property, Mount Alverno, where Desmond and Mary Kavanagh live.

In her action, Ms Morrison claimed the landscaping proposed for the Kavanagh property, and in particular proposals to replace certain trees, would cause significant overlooking of her family home.

At the end of that six-day hearing, Mr Justice Hanna granted Ms Morrison leave to bring the matter to a full hearing of the High Court.

Yesterday, the judge refused an application from counsel for Ms Morrison to award her the costs of that leave hearing.


The judge said that, unlike Commercial Court cases, where orders for costs are made in cases involving large sums of money, this case had been a "torrid conflict" dealt with over five or six days to such an extent that "one would wonder where one was".

This was not a commercial dispute but essentially a dispute between neighbours taken through the local authority, the judge said.

All that he had determined so far was that Ms Morrison had established a substantial issue to be tried, but it may well be that she could lose the case when it goes to a full hearing, he said.

It was his view that the question of costs should be reserved to the final hearing.

Earlier, the judge expressed surprise that the matter was back before him on the question of costs as he had previously been given to understand the case had been in the process of being resolved.

Eamon Galligan, counsel for Ms Morrison, told the court that there had been discussions but that nothing had been resolved.

Ms Morrison and the Kavanaghs were in court yesterday.

Irish Independent

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