Important Judgments

This section contains a list of important judgments of the Supreme Court. This list of selected case law is necessarily arbitrary and is not intended to be comprehensive. Click on a case name below to access the full text of the judgment in RTF format.

No.          Year          Judgment Title                                                                                                                  
       
 1.  1934

The State (Ryan) -v- Lennon

power of Oireachtas to amend 1922 Constitution

        
 2.  1935

Moore -v- Attorney General of the Irish Free State

personal constitutional rights - ownership of property - jurisdiction of the parliament of the Irish Free State

        
 3.  1939

The State (Burke) -v- Lennon

separation of powers - constitutionality of internment without trial provisions

        
 4.  1947

Buckley -v- Attorney General

personal constitutional rights - right to property - Sinn Féin Funds Act, 1947

        
 5.  1964

State (Quinn) -v- Ryan

powers of the courts as custodians of constitutional rights

        
 6.  1964

People (Attorney General) -v- O Brien

Admissibility of evidence in criminal trial - unintentional violation of the Constitution

        
 7.  1964

Ryan -v- Attorney General

personal constitutional rights - doctrine of unenumerated constitutional rights

        
 8.  1966

People (AG) -v- O Callaghan

criminal law - bail - presumption of innocence - personal constitutional rights - right to liberty

        
 9.  1966

The State (Nicolaou) -v- An Bord Uchtála

adoption - constitutional family is that based on marriage

        
 10.  1970

East Donegal Co-op Ltd. -v- the Attorney General

interpretation of Constitution - presumption of constitutionality of Acts of the Oireachtas

        
 11.  1971

Re Haughey

principles of constitutional justice - fair procedures - Oireachtas powers of inquiry

        
 12.  1971

Byrne -v- Ireland

tort - State has no sovereign immunity from suit

        
 13.  1973

McGee -v- Attorney General

personal constitutional rights - bodily integrity - right to privacy in marriage

        
 14.  1976

The State (Healy) -v- Donoghue

personal constitutional rights - right to legal aid in criminal cases

        
 15.  1980

King -v- Attorney General

validity of statute - trial of offences - incompatibility of offence with provisions of the Constitution

        
 16.  1980

Murphy -v- Attorney General

validity of statute - retrospective effect of law found unconstitutional

        
 17.  1985

State (Trimbole) -v- Governor of Mountjoy Prison

rule of law - personal constitutional rights - right to liberty - deliberate invasion of rights by Executive

        
 18.   1987

Crotty -v- An Taoiseach

executive power - international relations - Single European Act

        
 19.   1990

McGimpsey -v- Ireland

executive power - international relations - constitutionality of agreements between Ireland and UK Government concerning Northern Ireland

        
 20.   1990

People (DPP) -v- Kenny

Admissibility of evidence in criminal trial - violation of the Constitution

 

 21.   1991 Cox -v- Ireland
personal constitutional rights - right to earn livelihood
        
 22.   1992 Attorney General -v- X 
personal constitutional rights - right to life of unborn - right to life of mother ? right to travel)
        
 23.   1992 McKinley -v- Minister for Defence
personal constitutional rights - equality - constitutional principles override common law rights
        
 24.   1995 A Ward of Court (witholding medical treatment) (No. 2)
personal constitutional rights - right to life - near vegetative state
        
 25.   1995 McKenna -v- An Taoiseach (No. 2)
separation of powers - public expenditure in referendum campaigns
        
 26.   1999 Laurentiu -v- Minister for Justice
validity of statute - Aliens Act 1935 - deportation
        
 27.   2001 Sinnott -v- Minister for Education
personal constitutional rights - education - separation of powers
        
 28.   2001 The North Western Health Board -v- H.W. & C.W.
personal constitutional rights - bodily integrity - family - welfare of child
        
 29.   2001 T.D. -v- Minister for Education
personal constitutional rights - socio-economic rights - education - separation of powers
        
 30.   2002 Maguire -v- Ardagh
constitutional limits on parliamentary committees' powers
        
 31.   2003 A.O. & O.J.O. -v- Minister for Justice
personal constitutional rights - citizenship - family rights - right to reside - deportation of non-national parents of children who are citizens
        
 32.   2006 A. -v- The Governor of Arbour Hill Prison
validity of actions taken under law subsequently found unconstitutional
       

The texts of these judgments have been made available with the permission of the Law Reporting Council of Ireland and Justis Publishing Ltd.