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Pleadings against Medical Council could not be amended to seek further declaration of unconstitutionality

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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High Court refuses application for an order extending the plaintiff’s claim to include a declaration that the practices engaged in by the Medical Council contravene the constitutional requirements that trials be conducted in 'due course of law', on the grounds: (a) no excuse was provided as to why the application to amend was not brought sooner; (b) the application to amend came very late in the day as it was on the first day of the trial and the application took up a full day of the four day hearing; (c) the Court was of the view that the amendment would be a substantive new claim and to permit such an amendment would prejudice the defendants; (d) if the Court was wrong about it being a substantial amendment, and the plaintiff was correct and the proposed amendment was not introducing anything substantially new into the proceedings, then it follows that little or no prejudice would be suffered by the plaintiff if the amendment was refused; and (e) allowing such a delay was a breach of the principles set out by the Supreme Court that there should be finality to decisions at the earliest possible opportunity.

Professional disciplinary proceedings - practice and procedure - application by the plaintiff for an order extending the plaintiff’s existing grounds of relief against the defendants to include a declaration that the practices engaged in by the Medical Council contravene Article 38 of the Constitution on the grounds that the Medical Council purports to make findings of criminal conduct, which is reserved by Article 38 to a court of law - the plaintiff had challenged the issue by the Medical Council of a Notice of Inquiry to the plaintiff regarding the holding of an inquiry as to whether the plaintiff had engaged in professional misconduct or poor professional performance, following the plaintiff’s acquittal by the District Court of various charges relating to the importation of various medicinal products without a marketing or manufacturing authorisation - the plaintiff sought to amend his pleadings - Order 28, rule 1 of the Rules of the Superior Courts - whether the Court should permit the amendment - whether the defendant would be prejudiced by allowing the amendment - application refused

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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