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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Supreme Court to hear appeal over the constitutionality of Covid-19 restrictions

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal regarding the constitutionality of Covid-19 restrictions.

The appeal has been brought by Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters against the dismissal of their challenge relating to the constitutionality of the Covid-19 restrictions that were introduced during the pandemic.


Back in March, the Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal against the High Court’s discussion not to grant them leave to bring their action on the basis it was “misconceived and entirely without merit”.

They were then ordered to pay the legal costs.

In the judicial review proceedings against the State and the Minister of Health, the applicants sought to have various legislative measures declared unconstitutional and flawed.


In a written determination, Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell, Ms. Justice Marie Baker and Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan granted permission to have the appeal heard on a limited basis.

The court will only hear the appeal on the basis of determining if leave to apply for judicial review should have been granted in circumstances where the applicants had failed to present evidence from scientific or medical experts on the proportionality of the measures introduced and their impact on constitutional rights.

The judges will also consider if the measures are of “such clear and significant impact” upon the constitutional rights of every citizen that a judge should grant leave for them to be challenged by way of judicial review.

The Supreme Court accepted at the level of principle that the matters sought to be raised concerning the limitations on rights and the proportionality of the measures are “of general legal importance”.

Judges also noted that the applicants had failed to secure leave for their application due to their failure to satisfy the High Court and Court of Appeal due to the lack of evidence to support the application.

IMAGE – “Investigative Journalist Gemma O’Doherty” (CC BY 2.0) by Sinn Féin/John Waters by National Party


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