List of Irish Supreme Court cases

This is a partial list of cases decided by the Supreme Court of Ireland, the highest court in the Republic of Ireland. The list is organized chronologically within areas of law.


Case name Citation Summary
State (Burke) v. Lennon [1940] IR 135 Imprisonment without trial; habeas corpus
Sinn Féin Funds case (Buckley and Others v. the Attorney-General and Another) [1950] IR 67 Separation of powers and right to property
McGee v. The Attorney General [1974] IR 284, [1973] IESC 2 Right to privacy in marital affairs; ability to import contraceptives
Norris v. Attorney General [1983] IESC 3, [1984] IR 36 Decriminalization of homosexuality
Crotty v. An Taoiseach [1987] IESC 4 Ratification of the Single European Act and external state sovereignty
Attorney General v. X [1992] IESC 1; [1992] 1 IR 1 Termination of pregnancy where there is risk to the mother including suicide.
In re Article 26 and the Regulation of Information (Services outside the State for Termination of Pregnancies) Bill 1995 [1995] IESC 9, [1995] 1 IR 1 Natural law supersedes positive law
De Roiste v Minister for Defence [2001] 1 IR 190; [2001] IESC 4; [2001] 2 ILRM 241 The Court held that the extended delay (three decades in this case) in bringing forward an action was grounds for dismissal of the action.
Dunne v Donohoe [2002] IESC 35, [2002] 2 IR 533 Possession and security arrangements of firearms
P.M. v District Judge Miriam Malone and the Director of Public Prosecutions [2002] IESC 46 Barred prosecution of an individual due to an inordinate delay.
The Health (amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2004 [2005] IESC 7 The right of a person to recover property can determine the constitutionality of a bill
Dekra Eireann Teo v Minister of Environment [2003] 2 IR 270; [2003] 2 ILRM 210; [2003] IESC 25 A key feature of both European law and court rules is the policy of urgency.
Kelly v Trinity College Dublin [2007] IESC 61 Former employments or associations are insufficient to disqualify a person from participating in disciplinary or similar tribunals related to that former employment.
Roche v Roche [2009] IESC 82 Frozen embryos are not considered "unborn" in the context of the Constitution of Ireland.
Meadows v. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2010] IESC 3; [2010] 2 IR 701; [2011] 2 ILRM 157 The proportionality test should be used when reviewing administrative actions that implicate fundamental rights protected by both the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Benedict McGowan and Others v Labour Court and Others [2013] 2 ILRM 276; [2013] IESC 21; [2013] 3 IR 718 Provisions of Part III of the Industrial Relations Act are invalid considering the provisions of Article 15.2.1 of the Constitution of Ireland.
Vincent Sweeney v Governor of Loughlan House Open Centre and Others [2014] 2 ILRM 401; [2014] IESC 42; [2014] 2 IR 732 A sentence being served in the administering state must be of the same legal nature as imposed in the sentencing state.
O'Connell & anor v The Turf Club [2015] IESC 57; [2017] 2 IR 43 Organizational body of a sport is subject to judicial review even if the body was not created by statute.
Bederev v Ireland [2016] IESC 34; [2016] 3 IR 1; [2016] 2 ILRM 340 A government decision to expand the list of controlled drugs did not infringe on the authority of the Oireachtas
B S v The Director of Public Prosecutions [2017] IESCDET 134 The Supreme Court “is no longer a Court for the correction of error but rather a Court which has the principal constitutional task of determining issues of general importance.”[1]
Grace and anor v An Bórd Pleanála & ors [2017] IESC 10 Clarified the criteria for standing (sufficient connection to support participation in a case) in relation to judicial review of environmental concerns.
Damache v Minister for Justice [2021] IESC 6 Clarified revocation of citizenship was not an aspect of the judicial power constitutionally reserved to the judicial branch, but an executive power


Case name Citation Summary
Melling v O'Mathghamhna [1],[1962] IR 1 Restated Elements of a Criminal Offence
Attorney General v Oldridge [2000] IESC 29; [2000] 4 IR 593 Establishing a corresponding offense for extradition; definition of fraud
Murphy v GM [2], [2001] IESC 82 Affirmed the constitutional validity of the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau (See also Gilligan v Criminal Assets Bureau [3][4])
Blood v DPP [2005] IESC 8 Confirmed that a right to an expeditious trial is implied in the right to a fair trial under Irish law.
A v Governor of Arbour Hill Prison [2006] IESC 45 A finding that criminal legislation is unconstitutional need not render existing convictions void.
McFarlane v. Director of Public Prosecutions [2008] IESC 7; [2008] 4 IR 117 The right to a fair trial does not preclude prosecution in cases of prosecutorial delay unless the accused can demonstrate specific prejudice or that the delay was outside the norm.
Brian Rattigan v DPP [2008] IESC 34 A criminal trial would be prohibited where prosecutorial delay or adverse pre-trial publicity created a substantial risk of unfairness to the accused.
DPP v McLoughlin [2009] IESC 65 The admissibility of hearsay evidence for bail applications
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform v Dolny [2009] IESC 48 The court found that a European extradition can be applied if the offense is very similar to an offense in Irish law.
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform v Murphy [2010] IESC 17 Expanded the meaning of "detention order"
Director of Public Prosecutions v Pat Hegarty [2011] IESC 32 Officers/key employees involved in anti-competitive practices may be prosecuted for their involvement, regardless of whether the undertaking itself has been prosecuted.
Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform v Bailey [2012] IESC 16 Clarified the grounds under which a person could be extradited for a European Arrest Warrant.
Callan v Ireland & The Attorney General [2013] IESC 35; [2013] IR 267; [2013] ILRM 257 Clarified the relationship between commutation and a sentence of imprisonment in the context of an appeal for early release.
DPP v Peter Cullen [2014] IESC 7, [2014] 3 IR 30 Addressed the routine practice of the Garda Síochána of placing handcuffs after an arrest for drink driving.


Case name Citation Summary
P.F v G.O'M (Otherwise G.F) [2000] IESC 81 Clarified the grounds for annulment of marriage in relation to informed consent.
T(D) v L(F) & Anor [2003] IESC 59 In relation to foreign divorce proceedings, the burden of proof is on the parties to establish their domicile.
K. (C.) v. K. (J.) [2004] 2 ILRM 168, [2004] IESC 21, [2004] 1 IR 224 Held that the doctrine of estoppel could not be used to change the status of a person, when the status, as a matter of law, never actually changed.
McD v. L [2007] IESC 28, [2008] 1 IR 417 Granted visitation rights to sperm donors.
Nottinghamshire County Council v B [2011] IESC 48; [2013] 4 IR 662 Refused to overturn an order of the High Court returning children of married parents from England to that jurisdiction.
Child and Family Agency v RD [2014] IESC 47 Confirmed that jurisdiction of EU states which first issue orders have primacy but that the High Court in Ireland has the right under EU law to grant provisional protection orders to allow a child to stay in Ireland.
H v H [2015]  IESC  85 Guidelines for when common law principles could be reinterpreted.
Child and Family Agency v McG and JC [2017] IESC 9, [2017] 1 IR 1 Where a detention was lacking in due process of law due to breach of fundamental requirements of justice, it may be challenged through an application for release under the constitutional principle of habeas corpus even in the case of disputes as to the custody of children.


Case name Citation Summary
Director of Corporate Enforcement v Barry Seymour [2011] IESC 45; [2013] 1 IR 82 Commercial misjudgement was not in itself sufficient to justify disqualification as a company director under the Companies Act 1990.
Bank of Ireland v O'Donnell & ors [2015] IESC 90 Clarified the grounds for recusal under grounds of "objective bias."
Irish Life and Permanent plc v Dunne [2015] IESC 46; [2016] 1 IR 92 Clarified the impact of a lender failing to comply with the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears 2010 (the “Code”) on that lender’s right to obtain an order of possession of mortgaged property.
Collins v Minister for Finance [2016] IESC 73; [2017] 1 ILRM 65; [2017] 3 IR 99 Legalised emergency measures to deal with Ireland's 2008 financial crisis.


Case name Citation Summary
P., L., & B. v Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform [2001] IESC 107, [2002] 1 ILRM 16 Refusal of an application for asylum may constitute a sufficient basis for the government to order the applicant's deportation.
Z. v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2002] IESC 14 The absence of an oral hearing need not infringe the right of an applicant for refugee status to natural and constitutional justice.
Lobe v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2003] IESC 3 Applicant minors enjoy, in general terms, the right not to be expelled form the state--a right subject to limited qualification (such as lawful extradition to another state).
Dimbo v Minister for Justice [2008] IESC 26 A deportation order must consider facts that are specific to the individual child.
Okunade v. Minister for Justice & Others [2012] IESC 49 Disruption to family life and risk to children are grounds to grant an interlocutory injunction.
H.N. v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and others [2012] IESC 58 In Irish law an applicant could not apply for subsidiary protection without first applying for, and then being refused refugee status.
A (a Minor) v Minister for Justice and Equality and others [2013] IESC 18 A certificate of leave to appeal is not required in order to appeal to the Supreme Court a decision of the High Court to dismiss proceedings as frivolous or vexatious.
AMS v Minister for Justice and Equality [2014] IESC 65 The Minister for Justice can evaluate the financial burden that a refugee's dependents may put on the State when assessing an application for entry.
Sivsivadze v Minister for Justice [2015] IESC 53 [5]; [2015] 2 ILRM 73; [2016] 2 IR 403 Dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of section 3(1) of the Immigration Act 1999 (the "1999 Act"), under which the Minister for Justice order the deportation of a non-national (without permission to remain in the State) for an indefinite period.
AAA & Anor v Minister for Justice & Ors [2017] IESC 80 Clarified the grounds under which a claim for subsidiary protection could be heard.
N.V.H v Minister for Justice & Equality [2017] IESC 35 Employment rights for asylum seekers could be restricted but a "complete" ban violates the right to seek employment.


Case name Citation Summary
Wunder v. Hospitals Trust Supreme Court, unreported, Walsh, Haugh and O’Keeffe JJ., 24 January 1967 Frivolous or vexations proceedings
Bula Ltd v Tara Mines Ltd (No 6) [2000] 4 IR 412 The court considered the test for objective bias in Ireland.
Adam v The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2001] IESC 38 ]; [2001] 2 ILRM 452 Confirmed conditions under which judicial review could be struck out as frivolous.
Braddish v DPP [2001] 3 IR 127]; [2001] IESC 45; [2002] 1 ILRM 151 Prosecution based on a video tape not available the accused was quashed.
SIAC Construction Ltd v The County Council of the County of Mayo [2002] IESC 39 A tender-awarding authority is required to respect the general principles of equality, transparency, and objectivity.
Dunne v Director of Public Prosecutions [2002] 2 IR 305; [2002] IESC 27; [2002] 2 ILRM 241 Fair procedure imposes a duty on the prosecution to seek out and preserve all evidence that has a bearing or a potential bearing on the issue of guilt or innocence.
Ryanair p.l.c. v Aer Rianta c.p.t. [2003] IESC 62 When addressing issues relating to discovery the burden of proof rests firmly on the party seeking the discovery.
DB v The Minister for Health [2003] 3 IR 12, [2003] IESC 22 The literal approach (wording is interpreted using the "natural" and "ordinary" meaning of language) should always be used first when it comes to interpreting statutes.
Gilroy v Flynn [2005] 1 ILRM 290; [2004] IESC 98 Excessive delays in the delivery of a statement of claim are no longer acceptable even where the fault of the delay lies with a professional adviser, and not the plaintiff.
Goold v Collins and Ors [2004] IESC 38, [2004] 7 JIC 1201 A statutory provision's constitutionality may be reviewed only at the behest of a litigant who is contesting some current application of that provision.
D.C. v DPP [2005] IESC 77 A trial can be prohibited "where there is a real or serious risk of an unfair trial."
Dundon v Governor of Cloverhill Prison [2005] IESC 83 First person extradited under a European Arrest Warrant
PM v Director of Public Prosecutions [2006] 3 IR 172, [2006] IESC 22, [2006] 2 ILRM 361 Prosecutorial delay that deprives an accused of the right to a speedy trial is, in and of itself, one factor to consider in carrying out the balancing exercise.
Dunne v Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government [2007] IESC 60 Court has discretion in charges for cases brought in the public interest.
Gerald J.P. Stephens v Paul Flynn Ltd [2008] IESC 4; [2008] 4 IR 31 Absent special circumstances, a party's failure to deliver a statement of claim within a period of twenty months is inexcusable and will justify dismissal of the litigation.
Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank v Coleman [2009] 2 ILRM 363; [2009] 3 IR 699 The Court clarified the inherent jurisdiction of the court with respect of a solicitor's misconduct.
MJELR v Rettinger [2010] IESC 45; [2010] 3 IR 783 Established grounds to resist a European Arrest Warrant in the context of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Board of Management St. Molaga's National School v The Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science [2010] IESC 57, [2011] 1 IR 362 Under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, the decision of a school's board of management to refuse to enrol a student may be subject to a full re-hearing by an appeals committee appointed by the Minister for Education.
McInerney Homes Ltd v Cos Acts 1990 [2011] IESC 31 The onus of proof under the Company Acts lay with the examiner to show that a proposed scheme of debt restructuring was not unfair to any interested party.
Comcast Int. Holdings v Minister for Public Enterprise & ors and Persona Digital Telephony Ltd v Minister for Public Enterprise & ors [2012] IESC 50 The decision by Michael Lowery, then Minister for Public Enterprise, to award a phone license to ESAT was "unlawful."
Ryan v Governor of Midlands Prison [2014] IESC 54 A court order detaining a convicted individual that is not prima facie invalid should only be challenged through an appeal of the conviction or an application for judicial review.
F.X. v The Clinical Director of Central Mental Hospital and Another [2014] IESC 1; [2014] 1 IR 280 The court "clarified two important points about the habeas corpus jurisdiction"
Moylist Construction Limited v Doheny [2016] IESC 9; [2016] 2 IR 283 A court should not entertain an application to dismiss proceedings where the legal issues or questions of construction arising in the case are complex
CC v Minister for Justice [2016] IESC 48 Reexamination of a previously established test with respect to whether an order for deportation could be granted where an appeal was pending within the courts system.
Wansboro v. DPP and anor [2017] IESCDET 115 Established grounds for expedited appeal to the Supreme Court
Persona Digital Telephony Ltd v. Minister for Public Enterprise, Ireland [2017] IESC 27 Third party funding to support a plaintiff's legal costs and disbursements is unlawful.


Case name Citation Summary
Byrne v. Ireland [1972] IR 241 Abolished the immunity of the state in tort
Doherty v Reynolds and St. James's Hospital Board [2004] IESC 42 Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, where an injury would not be expected to occur without negligence, negligence on the part of those charged with the thing's management may be presumed from the mere fact of injury/
Philp v Ryan [2004] IESC 105 Held that a plaintiff's 'lost chance' is actionable in the context of medical negligence
Geraldine Weir-Rodgers v. SF Trust Ltd [2005] IESC 2 Confirmed that under Section 4 of the Occupiers Liability Act 1995 an occupier of land is not required to safeguard trespassers or recreational users.
Delahunty v Player and Willis (Ireland) Ltd. [2006] IESC 21 Granted permission to pursue tobacco companies for damages.
Walsh v Jones Lang Lasalle Ltd [2017] IESC 38 A purchaser bears the risk of reliance on erroneous information unless the vendor has clearly assumed responsibility for its accuracy.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Supreme Court of Ireland, 2018 Annual Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-12-21. Retrieved 2020-05-15.