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The 25 most cited cases in Irish superior court judgments (Nos 6-10)

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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Since 2011, Decisis has published over 9,000 reports of Irish superior court judgments. These are indexed by topic, and may be found by subscribers on

In this series of articles, we highlight the 25 cases most cited in those 9,000 judgments.

This week, Nos 6 to 10.


6. O’Keeffe v. An Bord Pleanála [1993] 1 I.R. 39

The High Court had quashed a decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for a long wave transmitting station. The Board appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that there had been ample material before it to justify the decision. The Supreme Court had to determine in what circumstances an administrative decision could be set aside as ‘unreasonable’.

See the report of this decision on


7. Primor PLC v. Stokes Kennedy Crowley [1996] 2 I.R. 459

A company in administration brought professional negligence actions against two firms of accountants, concerning audits. There were delays prior to issuing the summons, and eleven years passed thereafter prior to the case coming to hearing. Bearing in mind that the defendants had been complicit in some of the delay, the Supreme Court had to consider whether it was possible to hold a fair trial between the parties.

See the report of this decision on


8. Henderson v. Henderson (1843) 3 Hare 100; 67 E.R. 313

This is the only non-Irish case to appear in this list of most cited cases, as well as the only one to predate Irish independence. An action had been determined by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, but new proceedings were issued in the English courts, alleging irregularities in the original proceedings. The parties could have appealed the original determination to the Privy Council. The High Court had to determine whether it was open to them to raise the relevant issues in new proceedings. The language in the judgment is very much of its time, and it includes a quaint reference to cases where “an appeal lies from the Colonial Court to the mother country”.

See the report of this decision on


9. State (Keegan) v. Stardust Compensation Tribunal [1986] I.R. 642

A compensation tribunal had been established to compensate victims of a nightclub fire. In one family, a mother had been awarded compensation by the tribunal for ‘nervous shock’ arising from the death of two daughters, but the father was refused compensation. In the judicial review of this decision, the High Court and Supreme Court had to consider whether it had been irrational to reach different decisions in relation to the two claims.

See the report of this decision on



10. East Donegal Co-Operative Livestock Mart Ltd v. Attorney General [1970] 1 IR 317

A company had been granted a licence by the Minister to hold a livestock mart, subject to conditions, under the provisions of the Livestock Marts Act 1967. Believing that the conditions were an infringement of their property rights, the company sought to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. The High Court determined that the legislation was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court had to determine whether the legislation was repugnant to the constitution and the limits of the Minister’s discretion in imposing such conditions.

See the report of this decision on


Next week, Nos 1-5.

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