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Court refuses to order security for costs in appeal against defamation award

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal refuses the plaintiff/respondent's application for security for the costs of the appeal brought by the defendant/appellant challenging the decision of a jury in the High Court to find the defendant to have made defamatory remarks about the respondent, on the grounds that: (a) the plaintiff did not establish any special circumstances that would justify making an order for security for costs; (b) it was accepted by the parties that the defendant has a stateable appeal and that the plaintiff has a prima facie defence to that appeal, and it follows that the Court should not inquire any further into the merits of the proceedings; (c) the fact that a defendant/appellant is a limited liability company is not itself a ‘special circumstance’ that would satisfy the test for granting security for costs; and (d) the defendant had adduced sufficient evidence to demonstrate that if security is ordered against it, this would preclude it from proceeding with its appeal.

Murray J (nem diss): Security for costs - defamation - application brought by the plaintiff/respondent for security for the costs of the appeal brought by the defendant/appellant - the respondent had brought defamation proceedings against the appellant which was heard by a jury in the High Court - the jury found that the statements were defamatory and awarded the respondent €300,000 in damages, comprising general damages of €200,000, aggravated damages of €50,000 and exemplary damages of €50,000 - the respondent is the head of security at the appellant - the respondent's essential case was that the allegedly defamatory statements were made in the course of a campaign against him orchestrated by the appellant to have him removed from his position - Order 86 Rule 9 Rules of the Superior Courts - the defendant accepted that it would not be in a position to discharge the costs of the appeal in the event that it is unsuccessful - - whether the appeal presented a question or questions of law that preclude the grant of security - whether the respondent had established that there were ‘special circumstances’ that justified the making of such an "exceptional" order - whether there were circumstances which demonstrated a risk of additional or unnecessary injustice in the bringing of the appeal such as to justify the ordering of security - whether the ordering of security would in fact prevent it from exercising its right to appeal - application refused - costs of the application reserved.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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