High Court: AIB granted Isaac Wunder Order restraining man from acting as McKenzie Friend



AIB have been granted an Isaac Wunder Order, restraining a man from acting as a “McKenzie Friend”. Providing the relief sought by AIB, Mr Justice Robert Haughton granted, inter alia, a permanent injunction restraining the man ‘from advising, participating in, assisting or otherwise engaging in litigation in any court in the State in a representative capacity on behalf of others, whether in the capacity of “McKenzie Friend” or otherwise’

Background

In 2013, Allied Irish Banks initiated proceedings against Mr Seamus McQuaid, to recover over €3 million. In February 2017, Mr Justice Robert Haughton ordered that AIB recover 3.25m together with interest pursuant to the Courts Act 1981 from the date of judgment, and costs. Justice Haughton granted a stay on execution of the judgment for 12 months with liberty to AIB to apply.

In April 2017, Justice Haughton then lifted the stay in circumstances where Mr McQuaid refused to give undertakings not to dissipate his assets.

Throughout the proceedings, Mr McQuaid was unrepresented but was accompanied in Court by Mr Ben Gilroy acting as McKenzie Friend.

In May 2017, AIB became aware that a dealing had been lodged with the Property Registration Authority (PRA) on behalf of Mr Gilroy and Mr Charles McGuinness which purported to give effect to a “voluntary transfer” of lands and properties comprised in four folios in County Monaghan which were the subject of mortgages or charges in favour of AIB or AIB Mortgage Bank, over which receivers had been appointed

It appeared that Messrs. Gilroy and McGuinness were central participants in a scheme designed to put assets of Mr McQuaid beyond the reach of AIB by receiving them into “the Morrigan Trust” – established by Messrs. Gilroy and McGuinness and administered by a company of which Mr Gilroy was a director.

This prompted AIB to seek urgent injunctive relief against them in aid of executing the primary judgment.

Application for Isaac Wunder order

In the present application to the High Court, AIB sought “Isaac Wunder” orders against Mr Gilroy, and further an order restraining him from acting as a “McKenzie Friend” generally, or specifically, in relation to these proceedings.

In support of the Isaac Wunder order, and the relief relating to Mr Gilroy’s activities as McKenzie Friend, AIB referred the court to other proceedings involving Mr Gilroy – in this regard a non-exhaustive list of 12 cases was outlined by AIB.

Justice Haughton said that Mr Gilroy “regards himself as a champion of those who succumbed to bank debt following the excessive lending prior to 2008”, contending that the litigation that he instigated was not frivolous or vexatious, and was instead “of national concern”, adding that he intended to take further litigation.

Justice Haughton was also satisfied that Mr Gilroy’s disregard for previous convictions criminal and civil contempt of court, and his subsequent conduct showed his disrespect for the Courts.

Considering all of the above, Justice Haughton made the following Orders:

  1.          An order restraining Mr Gilroy from issuing further proceedings against AIB or any director or employee of AIB, or any legal representative of AIB, save with the prior permission of the President of the High Court.
  1.          An order restraining Mr Gilroy from issuing any further motions in the present proceedings against AIB, its directors, employees, legal representatives, servants or agents save with the prior permission of the judge for the time being in charge of the Commercial Court list.

  iii.         An order restraining Mr Gilroy from attending at or near AIB’s office at Bankcentre, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. 

  1.          An order restraining Mr Gilroy from attending at or near the homes/properties of any officer, employee or agent of the Bank whether for the purposes of the service or delivering of documents or otherwise, and whether personally or by his servants or agents.
  1.          An order that any further documents that Mr Gilroy, his servants or agents, may be permitted or required to serve or deliver on AIB or it’s legal advisors in these proceedings be served or delivered by registered prepaid post addressed to Beauchamps (solicitors for AIB).
  1.          A permanent injunction restraining Ben Gilroy, whether alone or in concert with any other person, from advising, participating in, assisting or otherwise engaging in litigation in any court in the State in a representative capacity on behalf of others, whether in the capacity of “McKenzie Friend” or otherwise.

vii.         An injunction restraining Mr Gilroy, alone or in concert with any other person, from advising, participating in, assisting or otherwise engaging in the present  proceedings or any related litigation in a representative capacity on behalf of the first named defendant or any other defendant or Notice Party whether in the capacity of “McKenzie Friend” or otherwise.

viii.         An order directing that notice of the making of this order be given to the Principal Registrar of the High Court and to the Chief Executive Officer of the Courts Service.

  • by Seosamh Gráinséir for Irish Legal News

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Other judgments by Mr Justice Robert Haughton