Cotter, J (2014) When the Court can Reverse its Decision. Bar Review. ISSN 1339-3426

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It is a long established principle that a court has jurisdiction to reverse its decision at any time until the order is perfected, but not afterwards.1 Until early 2013, the courts of England and Wales had taken a restrictive approach in identifying circumstances in which it would be appropriate for a court to exercise this jurisdiction; the Court of Appeal ruling in a series of cases that it should not be exercised “save in most exceptional circumstances”2 or where there were “strong reasons”3 for doing so. This approach, synthesised by the Court of Appeal in Paulin v Paulin4 , was approved by Clarke J in the High Court in In Re McInerney Homes Ltd5 as representing the law in Ireland. In February 2013, however, the UK Supreme Court in In re L6 rejected the approach taken theretofore, ruling that jurisdiction to reverse before the perfection of an order was not limited to exceptional circumstances and that the overriding objective in the exercise of the power was to deal with the case in question justly. This article sets out a brief history of the jurisdiction and the development of the courts’ attitude to its exercise, before moving on to more recent developments including Irish acceptance of the approach ofthe Court of Appeal in Paulin and the subsequent rejection by the UK Supreme Court of that approach. Finally, the article will ask whether the Irish courts should retain the status quo or whether the latest approach of the UK Supreme Court should be adopted in Ireland.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found on the publisher website.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2023 10:58
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2023 10:58

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