For only the second time, the Supreme Court allowed television cameras into court today to record the court delivering its decision in a number of cases.

In October, RTÉ News broadcast two judgments from the court on RTÉ News Now and proceedings were also available online and on TV and radio bulletins.

Supreme Court broadcasting is a 'significant' first

It was the first time any recording or transmitting of proceedings in a court case had been permitted.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke said at the time that he hoped it would be a way of demystifying the courts process and he described it as a baby step that could lead to more extensive filming of the courts in the future.

Today marked another small step along the road towards making the system of justice more accessible.

The court delivered six judgments today.

The first two judgments related to the fishing industry and to procedures in the EU's Common Fisheries Policy 2014 regulations for imposing points on a fishing licence.

The first case - O'Sullivan v the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority - related to a fishing vessel owner who was charged with under recording his catch.

The High Court found the regulations were invalid as they breached Article 15.2.1 of the constitution which states that the only authority that can make law is the Oireachtas.

In the second - Crayden Fisheries v the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority - the High Court found the procedures for imposing points on a licence were contrary to fair procedures.


The Supreme Court ruled the 2014 regulations did not afford fair procedures to the fishing licence holders.

The court also dealt with an appeal by Permanent TSB in a case involving possession proceedings.

The case related to proceedings taken by the bank against David Langan, the owner of six properties on the northside of Dublin.

It concerned a legal issue centred on whether the circuit court has jurisdiction to hear proceedings for possession orders if a property is not rateable under the 2001 Valuation Act.

In his ruling, Chief Justice Frank Clarke said developments in recent years had led to a situation where private residential properties were not ordinarily valued for rates.

However, he said for some time the legislation defining the property jurisdiction of the circuit court was not amended.

The Court of Appeal found the circuit court did not have jurisdiction in such cases meaning they would have to be taken in the High Court, incurring extra costs.

However, the Supreme Court overturned that decision this morning.

Mr Justice Clarke said the circuit court did have the jurisdiction to entertain possession proceedings such as those involved in this case.

The outcome of this appeal could affect other cases. 

The Supreme Court then went on to deal with an appeal dealing with the admissibility of statements in criminal cases.

The case related to Brian Rattigan, from Cooley Road, Drimnagh in Dublin, who was found guilty of murdering 21-year-old Declan Gavin outside a fast food outlet in Crumlin Shopping Centre in August 2001. 

He was jailed for life in 2009.

This appeal concerned the interpretation of a section of the 2006 Criminal Justice Act allowing statements made out of court to be admitted into evidence where the witness refuses to give evidence, denies making the statement or gives evidence inconsistent with the statement.

The Court of Criminal Appeal certified a question of law of exceptional public importance to the Supreme Court, asking if the section applies to statements made before the Act came into force.

After the Rattigan case, the court gave judgment in a case held in camera, meaning cameras could not record this ruling.

It concerned a ruling by the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal.

The tribunal found as a matter of probability that the woman at the centre of the case had been infected with Hepatitis C through an infected blood product in 1977 and awarded her just over €400,000.

She appealed the award but the state cross-appealed the tribunal's decision on the cause of her infection.

The High Court ruled that the state was not permitted to do that and the Supreme Court upheld that decision in its ruling handed down by Mr Justice Liam McKechnie.

The final decision handed down by the court concerned the "enormous and complex" action being taken by the administrators of Quinn Insurance Limited against its former auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The administrators are suing for negligence and breach of contract over the auditing of the company's affairs from 2005 to 2008.

The case is nowhere near ready to go ahead to a full hearing.

This aspect of it related to a Court of Appeal ruling on the issue of providing "further and better particulars", essentially more details.

PWC had sought leave to appeal an aspect of the Appeal Court's decision.

The Supreme Court granted permission to appeal and unusually that decision was given in public.

Normally the court sits in private to make its determinations in relation to permission to appeal and publishes its decisions on the courts.ie website.

This decision, handed down by Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, sets down some of the principles by which a case meets the conditions necessary to be allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.