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Monday 14 October 2019

Gun owners no longer entitled to legal costs in appeals

Tom Brady Security Editor

HUNDREDS of gun enthusiasts who have appealed decisions by district court judges refusing to renew their licences will have to pay their own costs even if they win their cases.

Those decisions are usually made following objections by a local garda chief superintendent to the renewal of a licence.

But now a landmark ruling in the High Court by Mr Justice Michael Peart has determined that the gunowners are not entitled to claim any legal costs from the State even if they succeed in getting the garda decision overturned.

It is estimated that up to 400 firearms appeal cases are adjourned in district courts all over the country.

The only outstanding issue in those cases has been a clarification on whether the gun enthusiasts could claim their costs.

In a case stated to Mr Justice Peart, he was asked to decide on two questions:

• Where an appeal was made under section 15 A of the Firearms Acts, 1995 to 2009, did the district court have jurisdiction to award costs to a successful applicant?

• In the absence of any specific provision relating to costs under the firearms legislation, was there an inherent jurisdiction of the district court to award costs where the appeal was successful?

Mr Justice Peart replied "no" to both questions, which means that even where a person is successful with any appeals, he or she is not entitled to the payment of any legal costs sustained in bringing the cases.

The judge is expected to give a fuller version of his ruling later this month.

Irish Independent

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