THE SUPREME COURT
Appeal No. 100/2006
John M. Searson
Judgment of the Court delivered on the 11th day of May, 2016 by Denham C.J.
1. This case comes before the Court by way of a motion of John M. Searson, the plaintiff/appellant, who is referred to as “the appellant”. The appellant seeks to have his appeal reinstated before the Court; he seeks to have four cases referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union; and he asks the Court to have the “case file” of the proceedings delivered to An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
2. The appellant grounds his application on an affidavit to which he deposed on the 3rd November, 2015.
3. The appellant filed written submissions also which were before the Court.
4. This case came on for hearing on the 21st January, 2016, when the appellant made oral submissions to the Court.
5. Ireland, the defendant/respondent, and referred to as “the respondent”, opposed the motion. An affidavit deposed by Karen Duggan on the 8th December, 2015, grounded that opposition.
6. There is a long history behind this motion.
7. The first order sought is to have the appellant’s case Record No. 2004/1916/P, and Appeal No. 2006/100 reinstated. The appellant’s case No. 2004, No. 1916/P, came before the High Court on the 24th February, 2006, when the High Court (Gilligan J.) struck out the proceedings, on the grounds that the appellant’s action was frivolous and vexatious.
8. The appellant filed an appeal on the 20th March, 2006.
9. By notice of motion, dated the 20th March, 2014, the respondent sought to have the appellant’s appeal dismissed for want of prosecution on the grounds of the failure to lodge books of appeal.
10. On the 4th April, 2014, the appellant was granted six weeks within which to lodge the Books of Appeal, and the motion was adjourned for six weeks.
11. The matter came before the Supreme Court on the 16th May, 2014. The appellant indicated that he did not intend to lodge his Books of Appeal. It appears that his position was that the Court was required to refer his cases to the European Court of Justice in advance of the Books of Appeal being lodged.
12. This Court, on the 16th May, 2014, held:
It was ordered:
“… the [appellant] in person intimating to the Court that he does not intend to file Books of Appeal herein,”…
Notice of Motion
13. The precise terms of the notice of motion before the Court were that the appellant would apply for the following reliefs:-
“… that the said Appeal be struck out and that the [appellant] do pay to the [respondents] the costs of this Appeal when taxed and ascertained.”
The High Court
14. The High Court order referred to is that of Gilligan J. delivered on the 24th February, 2006. On that day there were a number of motions before the High Court. The appellant had brought a notice of motion dated the 25th April, 2005, for an order to have the proceedings referred to the European Court of Justice with the appellant’s motions dated the 1st November, 2005, the 16th January, 2006, and the 10th February, 2006. There was also a motion from the respondent, Ireland, dated the 28th April, 2005, seeking (i) an order pursuant to O. 19 r. 28 of the Rules of the Superior Courts striking out the appellant’s pleadings on the ground that they fail to disclose a reasonable cause of action, and (ii) an order pursuant to O. 19 r. 28 and/or the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dismissing the proceedings on the grounds that the appellant’s action was frivolous, vexatious and/or an abuse of process.
“(i) An Order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court to have the matter/case of John M Searson v Ireland Record Number 2004/1916P reinstated back into the Supreme Court’s system for all of the reasons and facts as seen in my 72 page Sworn Affidavit 3rd November 2015.
(ii) An Order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court to have the four cases/matters of the [appellant] referred to the ECJ under Article 267(3) TFEU for ruling of the [appellant] question’s under the Double Mandatory Procedures as referred to and as seen in my 72 page Sworn Affidavit 3rd November 2015 for this application.
(iii) An Order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court to have the case file’s of John M Searson v Ireland Record Number 2004/1916P delivered to the Garda Siochana and the DPP for them to arrest each and every person, to have them brought to justice for all those who took part in the conspiracy as the record and files of the matters shows.
(iv) Such further or other order or orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit.
(v) The cost of the within application.”
15. The motions came on for hearing in the High Court on the 24th February, 2006, in the presence of the appellant in person and counsel for the respondent.
16. Having read the motions and the affidavits, and heard the appellant and counsel for the respondent, the High Court ordered that the appellant’s motions do stand dismissed with no order for costs. And the High Court ordered that the proceedings be struck out on the grounds that the appellant’s action was frivolous and vexatious. Further, the High Court ordered that the appellant do pay to the respondent the costs of their motion when taxed and ascertained.
The Supreme Court
17. The appellant appealed the decision of the High Court of the 24th February, 2006, to this Court.
18. By a motion dated 20th March, 2014, the respondent sought an order dismissing the appeal of the appellant, from the judgment and order of the High Court (Gilligan J.) of the 24th February, 2006, for want of prosecution. The appellant informed the Court that he did not intend filing Books of Appeal in the appeal. The Court struck out the appeal and ordered that the appellant pay to the respondent the costs of this appeal when taxed and ascertained.
19. Thereafter, we come to the current notice of motion brought by the appellant set out in full at para. 13. of this judgment.
20. The appellant seeks to have his appeal reinstated, for the reasons set out in his affidavit.
21. The affidavit commences as follows:-
22. This averment shows a misunderstanding of the appeal process. Papers, including motions and affidavits, are filed in the Supreme Court. The members of the Court read and consider the papers. Litigants have no right to stand up in the Court and read documents, whether it be a notice of motion or a 32 page sworn affidavit. There is a right to address the Court on the core issues of an application, but no right to read out a 32 page affidavit. Such motions and affidavits are already on the record, it is then a matter for the parties, either lay litigants or counsel, to bring to the Court’s attention key elements in the application by way of oral submission.
“This Sworn Affidavit and my Notice of Motion listed for to day (sic) is because of the fact, that my legal right’s under Article 40.3 of the Irish Constitution and my legal rights under Article 6 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights to have my Notice of Motion and 32 page Sworn Affidavit red (sic) out in open court on Friday the 16th day of May 2014 was conspired against by the Supreme Court Judges, Hardiman J, Clark J, (sic), and MacMenamin J as the record and files of the matter shows.”
23. Thus, the proceedings in this Court on the 16th May, 2014, were entirely consistent with the routine case management of the list.
24. On the basis of the fact that the appellant was not permitted to have his notice of motion and 32 page sworn affidavit read out in open court on Friday, 16th May, 2014, the appellant alleges that the Court order of the 16th May, 2014, is a fraudulent instrument. This is an entirely misconceived, and mischievous allegation.
25. This case has a long history. It is rooted in a proposed transaction, over 15 years ago, between the appellant, his son and daughter-in-law, in relation to property in Dundum, County Dublin. From that basis there has been extensive litigation with the solicitor of the proposed transaction, the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Law Society, his son and daughter-in-law, James Orange, and Ireland. This application is one where Ireland is the respondent.
26. The appellant in this case had been given every opportunity to advance his case in accordance with the procedures of the Court. For example, on the 4th April, 2014, the Court granted the appellant six weeks to lodge his books of appeal. He was told that if he did not lodge the books then the application would proceed on the next occasion with the risk that his appeal would be struck out. On the 16th May, 2016, the appellant informed the Court that he did not intend to file Books of Appeal and that he believed that the Court was obliged to refer his case to the Courts of Justice of the European Union.
27. This approach illustrates an error on behalf of the appellant.
28. There is no appeal before this Court, as the appellant has chosen not to file any Books of Appeal.
29. Thus, this Court has not got seisin of an appeal in this case.
30. In these circumstances there is no jurisdiction to address any issue, including that of any reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
31. In the second issue raised on the notice of motion the appellant sought an order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the Court to have the four cases of the appellant referred to the European Court of Justice under Article 267(3) TFEU for “a ruling of the [appellant’s] question’s (sic) under the Double Mandatory Procedures”, and he referred to his 72 page sworn affidavit of the 3rd November, 2015.
32. This Court does not have seisin of the matters referred to, as there is no appeal at hearing before the Court, and has no jurisdiction to refer the matters to the Court of Justice of the European Union in the circumstances.
33. The third matter raised by the appellant is a request for:-
34. There is no evidence of any conspiracy on the decision of the High Court delivered on the 24th February, 2006. Thus, this ground has no basis, and, in the circumstances, is vexatious.
“An order pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court to have the case files of John M Searson v Ireland Record Number 2004/1916P delivered to the Garda Siochana and the DPP for them to arrest each and every person, to have them brought to justice for all those who took part in the conspiracy as the record and files of the matters shows.”
35. The Court does not deem it necessary to address the fourth ground on the motion; and the fifth ground, that of the costs of the application, will be addressed by the Court after the delivery of the judgment, and after hearing submissions from the parties.
36. During the oral hearing of this notice of motion, the appellant requested the Court to remit the matter back to Gilligan J., to hear the matter and to determine the facts and to correct the situation and “if he is right then I won’t have to appeal”. He asked the Court to send the matter back to Gilligan J., for a hearing to determine the true facts. If that was done, he said that there would be no need to go to the European Court of Justice. He pointed out that if the case went to the European Court of Justice, it would take two years, and he will be seventy in September, and so it would be better to go to the High Court.
37. The Court is satisfied, on the facts before it, that there is no basis to remit the matter back to the High Court.
38. This motion relates to a case in which the notice of appeal dates from March, 2006. The appellant has indicated that he did not intend to file books of appeal. Procedural rules require to be complied with so that the Court has jurisdiction of a proposed appeal. This was not done on this appeal.
39. The appellant has sought in this motion to have his appeal reinstated, and to have four cases referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union. No ground has been advanced upon which the appeal could be reinstated, and hence the Court would order that the appeal not be reinstated. The Court has no jurisdiction to refer any of the matters referred to, to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as an appeal in the domestic courts would have to occur first before the Court would be in a position to consider whether the matter would be appropriate for a reference to the European Court of Justice.
40. Consequently, the Court would dismiss the motion.