Superior Court Rules

ORDER 131

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS

1. In this Order–

‘the Act of 1997’ means the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act, 1997;

‘a committee’ means a committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas (other than the Committee on Members’ Interests of Dail Eireann or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Seanad Eireann) or a sub-committee of such a committee;

‘a direction’ means a direction given under section 3 of the Act of 1997.

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2. (1) An application to the court pursuant to section 3(7), section 5(2)(i) or section 6(2) or an appeal to the court pursuant to section 4(3) of the Act of 1997 shall be brought by way of originating notice of motion. The notice of motion shall be entitled ‘In the matter of the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act, 1997’, on the application of the person bringing the application or appeal, and shall state concisely the direction or determination in respect of which the application or appeal is brought and the nature of the reliefs sought from the court.

(2) The motion shall be grounded upon the affidavit of the person bringing the application or appeal.

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3. Where an application is made by the Chairman of a committee pursuant to section 3(7) of the Act of 1997, such application shall be made within 21 days of the said committee being made aware of the fact that a person has disobeyed a direction, or within such other time as the court may allow under Order 122. The grounding affidavit shall:

(a) where a direction is given in writing, exhibit the said direction;

(b) where a direction is not given in writing, describe concisely the nature of the direction given;

(c) state how the person has disobeyed the direction;

(d) specify the relief sought of the court in order to enable the direction to have full effect.

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4. Where an appeal is brought against the determination of the Chairman or Chairmen of a committee by a person, pursuant to section 4(3) of the Act of 1997, such appeal shall be brought within 21 days of the notification of such determination to the person. Order 122 shall not apply to such an appeal. The grounding affidavit shall:

(a) exhibit a copy of the direction in respect of which the determination is made, where the said direction is in writing;

(b) where a direction is not given in writing, describe concisely the nature of the direction in respect of which the determination is made;

(c) exhibit a copy of the determination made by the Chairman or Chairmen, where such a determination is in writing;

(d) describe concisely the nature of the determination made by the Chairman or Chairmen where such a determination is not in writing; and

(e) state the basis for the person’s opinion that the evidence or document to which the direction relates is not relevant to the proceedings of the committee.

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5. Where an application is made by a person or by the Chairperson of a committee pursuant to section 5(2)(i) of the Act of 1997, such application shall be made within 21 days of the committee having notified the person of its decision not to withdraw the relevant direction. Order 122 shall not apply to such an application. The grounding affidavit shall:

(a) exhibit a copy of the direction in respect of which the decision is made, where the said direction is in writing;

(b) where a direction is not given in writing, describe concisely the nature of the direction in respect of which the decision is made;

(c) exhibit a copy of the decision made by the committee, where such a decision is in writing;

(d) describe concisely the nature of the decision made by the committee, where such a decision is not in writing;

(e) state the grounds upon which it is claimed by the person that the prejudice described in section 5(2)(a) or (b) could be caused as a result of the direction given in relation to the evidence or document;

(f) where an application is made by the Chairperson, pursuant to section 5(2)(i)(II), state the grounds upon which the committee decided not to withdraw the direction.

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6. Where an application is made by a committee pursuant to section 6(2) of the Act of 1997, such application shall be made within 21 days of the committee having been informed of the opinion of the person that he or she is entitled to disobey the relevant direction, by virtue of section 11(1), or within such other time as the court may allow under Order 122. The grounding affidavit sworn on behalf of the committee shall:

(a) exhibit a copy of the direction in respect of which the decision is made, where the said direction is in writing;

(b) where a direction is not given in writing, describe concisely the nature of the direction in respect of which the decision is made;

(c) exhibit the notification in writing, if any, by the person informing the committee of his or her opinion that, by virtue of section 11(1), he or she was entitled to disobey the direction; and

(d) state, if known to the committee, the basis upon which the person formed the opinion that, by virtue of section 11(1), he or she was entitled to disobey the direction.

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7. A notice of motion issued in respect of an application made or appeal brought to the court shall be served, together with the grounding affidavit, by ordinary pre-paid post upon the person concerned or the chairman of the committee, as the case may be. In any case where it appears necessary, a motion for directions shall be brought seeking the directions of the court as to the service of the notice of motion on any other person who may be concerned in the determination of the application on appeal (including any person referred to in section 9 or 10 of the Act of 1997).

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8. An appeal made or application brought pursuant to the Act of 1997 shall be heard and determined by the court upon affidavit unless the court otherwise directs, and the court may given such directions as to the giving of oral evidence as appear appropriate in the circumstances.

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