On 26 January 2021, Rochford Gallagher & Co Solicitors made history when the Court of Civil Appeal sat for the first time in Teeling Street, Tubbercurry (albeit remotely) to hear an Appeal.
The Appeal arose out of a decision made at Sligo High Court on the 6 November 2018 by Mr Justice Meenan, which said decision was appealed to the Court of Civil Appeal.
The Appeal was scheduled to be heard at a physical hearing in the Court of Appeal building at the Four Courts in Dublin on the 26 January but, because of Covid restrictions, that was not possible. However, these Appeals are now being dealt with remotely where feasible. The Defence Legal Team consisting of our Mr Eamonn M. Gallagher, Edward Walsh S.C., Joseph McGettigan S.C. and Declan McHugh B.L. were able to assemble in our Tubbercurry office for the hearing with social distancing and all Covid protocols being followed. The Respondent’s Solicitors and Counsel likewise were in their respective offices and the three Judges hearing the Appeal, namely Mr Justice Noonan, Mr Justice Binchy and Ms Justice Whelan, were all able to access the hearing from their own locations remotely via the Courts Service remote hearing platform.
The Appeal ran for two hours thirty minutes with legal arguments and submissions advanced on all sides. While it was unusual, the technology worked well and without interruption and it was possible to conclude the Appeal.
Having heard all relevant legal submissions, the Court of Civil Appeal reserved its judgment and same will issue in a number of weeks.
The experience proved that in cases such as this it is possible to hold successful remote hearings without the necessity of physical attendance. However crucially in these cases it was an Appeal and the Judges were relying on the transcript of the evidence which was heard in the High Court and Legal Submissions thereon. There was therefore no necessity for cross-examination of witnesses. If you had to try and cross examine a witness remotely, the remote platform may not be as successful.
Covid has brought many firsts and certainly we can say without fear of contradiction that this is the first occasion that the Court of Civil Appeal has sat (albeit remotely) in Teeling Street, Tubbercurry. Indeed an historic day!