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Early case law available online

Many in the legal profession have benefited from the Free Access to Law Movement without necessarily being aware that there was a Free Access to Law Movement. Like running water, or street lighting, the free availability of statutes and judgments onlin …

Mark Tottenham BL | June 11, 2019

Trial by Social Media

Until the age of social media, most democracies had well-established rules for protecting reputations and determining serious allegations, at both criminal and civil level. Publishers of defamatory comments could be sued for damages. If a serious crimi …

Mark Tottenham BL | May 7, 2019
Trial by Social Media

Four cases on the criminal defences of insanity and diminished responsibility

Clinical Director of CMH entitled to raise concerns about discharge of patient M.C. v. Clinical Director – Central Mental Hospital [2016] IEHC 341 (High Court, Eagar J, 20 June 2016) An accused was found guilty but insane, but was subsequently reclassi …

Mark Tottenham BL | May 3, 2019
Insanity Diminished Responsibiloity cases in Irish Courts

Personal insolvency arrangements

Under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, new arrangements were introduced to deal with personal insolvency, so that debtors and creditors did not need to resort to bankruptcy. Under the guidance of a personal insolvency practitioner (PIP), a debtor may …

Mark Tottenham BL | May 2, 2019
Personal Insolvency Arrangements

Assessment of damages arising from failure to register title documents

Rosbeg Partners v. LK Shields Solicitors [2018] IESC 23 (Supreme Court, O’Donnell J, 18 April 2018) Property had been purchased in 1994. The purchasers’ solicitors had undertaken to register title documents in the Land Registry, but failed to do so. Th …

Mark Tottenham BL | April 29, 2019
Failure to Register Title

Could Judges be replaced by algorithms

An algorithm is a set of rules to be followed in problem-solving operations. A computer programme can take a number of variable inputs, follow a certain set procedure, and yield a particular result. So it could be said to operate like a decision-maker, …

Mark Tottenham BL | April 26, 2019

Parkinsons’ Law of Delay

Originally published in 1957, Parkinson’s Law, or the Pursuit of Progress is most famous for the maxim in its opening line: ‘Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’ In the work, C Northcote Parkinson addresses a number of oth …

Mark Tottenham BL | April 24, 2019
Parkinsons Law of Delay

Citation of ‘free access’ case law – an Australian perspective

In Australian courts there is a longstanding convention (articulated by practice direction or rule in most jurisdictions) that the authorised report of a judgment is the version that must be cited in preference to other versions (such as unauthorised o …

Jenny Paglia | April 22, 2019
Free Access Case Law Citations

Developments in the law relating to ‘subject to contract’ correspondence

In property negotiations, it is usual practice for the solicitors on either side to mark the correspondence ‘subject to contract / contract denied’, and to end each letter with a formula such as: “No contract or agreement shall exist at law until such …

Mark Tottenham BL | April 18, 2019

An arbitrator’s jurisdiction: a law unto itself

Often when a dispute arises the court system is what springs to mind. However, the situation is often complicated when the parties have agreed that arbitration is the appropriate means to settle any differences between opposing sides. The lines between …

Ciaran Joyce BL | April 16, 2019

Compulsory purchase orders to facilitate private industrial development

When reading written judgments, it can be easy to forget that the legal struggle reflects a more personal struggle for many litigants. In Reid v. Industrial Development Agency (Ireland), the IDA had sought to exercise its statutory power to purchase la …

Mark Tottenham BL | April 2, 2019

Anonymisation of personal data in written judgments

It is common in written judgments concerning assessment of damages in personal injuries cases for the judge to describe in some detail the ailments that the plaintiff is suffering from. These are, needless to say, essential to the determination of the …

Mark Tottenham BL | March 29, 2019

False and misleading evidence in personal injuries claims

Recent news stories suggest that there has been an increase in fraudulent personal injuries claims. Decisis has reports on over 8,000 written judgments since January 2011, with only 20 applications to dismiss personal injuries actions for false or misleading evidence.

Mark Tottenham BL | March 20, 2019

Restraining ‘McKenzie Friends’ following abuse of process

In Mr Justice Haughton’ recent lengthy judgment in Allied Irish Banks PLC v McQuaid [2018] IEHC 516 orders were granted permanently restraining a person from acting as a ‘McKenzie Friend’ or indeed from advising, participating in or assisting litigatio …

Ian Fitzharris BL | March 15, 2019

Public access to court documents

If justice is to be done in public then why are court documents not accessible to the public? Parties have access to court documents filed in litigation in which they are involved, but non-parties to that litigation – or the general public – may have a …

Ciaran Joyce BL | March 13, 2019

Stare Decisis Hibernia is now ‘DECISIS’

We are very pleased to announce that will be changing to with immediate effect. Since 2011 Stare Decisis Hibernia has reported and indexed all written judgments from the Irish superior courts. Over 8,000 judgments ar …

Mark Tottenham BL | March 11, 2019


Before giving evidence in an Irish court, most witnesses are required to swear an oath to the following effect: “I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” The requirement to m …

Mark Tottenham BL | March 8, 2019

Piecemeal constitutional reform

In the first 50 years after the passing of the Irish constitution in 1937, there were ten amendments. In the 41 years since 1987, there have been 26 amendments. It is questionable whether this is the best way to amend the constitution, or if there shou …

Mark Tottenham BL | March 8, 2019

Four Recent Cases on Mediation

Adjournment for mediation could be refused where previous attempts to settle had been unsuccessful Danske Bank v. SC [2018] IECA 117 (Court of Appeal, Gilligan J, 23 April 2018) In a claim by a receiver against the former wife of a purchaser of propert …

Mark Tottenham BL | March 8, 2019