Renewal Of Summary Summons Refused

Published date24 November 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution
Law FirmWilliam Fry
AuthorMs Lisa Carty and Hilary Rogers

The plaintiff, Allied Irish Banks PLC (AIB) issued a summary summons against Ms Agnes Boyd in August 2017, some eight months before her passing in April 2018. AIB sought judgment in the sum of ?967,129.14 for monies advanced under various loan facilities. The summons was never served after five unsuccessful attempts.

In March 2020, the plaintiff abandoned proceedings issued in 2017 (Original Proceedings) in favour of issuing a fresh set of proceedings (New Proceedings) that were never served. The plaintiff ran out of time to issue the New Proceedings under the Statute of Limitations, and sought to reactivate the Original Proceedings.

Michael and John Boyd were the legal personal representatives of Ms Boyd. In April 2021, following a successful ex parte application by AIB, the High Court (Court) made an Order substituting Michael and John Boyd (Defendants) instead of the original defendant, Ms Boyd in the Original Proceedings. The Order also allowed the renewal of the summons, as discussed further below.

High Court - Renewal of Summons

According to sub-rule (1) of Order 8, Rule 1 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (RSC), "no original summons shall be in force for more than twelve months". Sub-rule (4) provides that the Court may order the renewal of a summons where it is satisfied that "there are special circumstances which justify an extension, such circumstances to be stated in the order".

The High Court Order of 26 April 2021 set out the following four special circumstances to justify the renewal of the summons:

  • The plaintiff placed a hold on proceedings while engaging with the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) on foot of complaints made by Ms Boyd;
  • The parties entered an unsuccessful mediation process;
  • The plaintiff did not pursue litigation at a time when COVID-19 restrictions were in place; and
  • The plaintiff was required to amend the summary summons on foot of the Supreme Court decision in Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank v O'Malley [2019] IESC 84 (O'Malley).

High Court - Motion to Set Aside Renewal

The Defendants brought an application under Order 8, Rule 2 of the RSC to set aside the renewal of the summons. This application constituted a de novo consideration of whether the summons ought to be renewed.

The Court referred to Murphy v. Health Service Executive 2021 [IECA] 3 (Murphy) where Haughton J carried out a thorough analysis of the interpretation of Order 8 of the RSC and the "special circumstances" test.

Special Circumstances...

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