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Man accused of Kevin Lunney abduction takes High Court case over time limits regarding judicial reviews

The man has previously brought judicial review proceedings challenging the Special Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to hear his trial.

ONE OF THE men accused of abducting and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney has launched a High Court challenge against the time limits imposed on anyone seeking to bring judicial review proceedings.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously brought judicial review proceedings challenging the Special Criminal Court’s jurisdiction to hear his trial.

He claimed that the DPP’s decision that he should not be tried before a jury represented a significant curtailment of his constitutional rights.

In a judgement earlier this year the High Court dismissed his application after ruling that he was out of time, as his action had been brought outside the three-month time period allowed.

The man, represented by Michael O’Higgins SC instructed by solicitor John Quinn, has launched new judicial review proceedings where he claims that the time limits regarding the bringing of judicial review proceedings are unconstitutional.

The three-month time period, he claims, was introduced by way of a statutory instrument by the Superior Courts Rules Committee, which under the 1936 Courts of Justice Act is tasked with making, annulling or altering rules of court.

The committee makes the rules regarding all procedures in civil and criminal cases in the State.

It is comprised of the Chief Justice, the presidents of the Court of Appeal and High Courts, several judges from those courts, solicitors, barristers and senior officials from the Courts Service.

He claims that the effect of the three-month limit impermissibly limits citizen’s access to the courts by way of delegated legislation.

The enactment of a time limit amounts to the enactment of substantive law by a rule-making committee, which he claims is something that is exclusively reserved for the Oireachtas.

The making of the time limit by the committee, he submits also amounts to a breach of the separation of powers.

He claims his challenge against the Special Criminal Court was denied due to temporal limitations by rules of court not enacted by the Oireachtas.

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In judicial review proceedings against the Superior Courts Rules Committee, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General the man seeks various declarations from the court, including that the rules of court regarding the time limit is unconstitutional.

He also seeks a declaration that the Rules of the Superior Courts imposing time limits for the initiation of proceedings to seek leave to make an application for judicial review are outside the powers of the Superior Rules Committee.

He further seeks a declaration that the Constitution does not permit the Committee to impose time limits, and that there is nothing in various Acts of the Oireachtas indicating that there is a time limit on anyone who wishes to bring an application for judicial review.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan. The judge, on an ex-parte basis, directed that the application be heard on notice to the respondents.

The matter will return before the courts in October.

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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