Frivolous and Vexatious High Court Proceedings Struck Out in Debt Case

Stock photo of Supreme Court

Arthur O’Neill entered into loan agreements totalling almost €2,000,000 with First Active plc in 2007. The loans were subsequently sold to securitisation companies after 2015.

Mr O’Neill brought High Court proceedings claiming that he had originally been offered 25 year interest only loans by First Active plc and in the process of the loans being sold to the securitisation companies they were altered to 5 years interest only loans.

He claims damages for breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, deceit, concealment, and negligent misstatement. He also claimed these proceedings were necessary to allow him obtain documentation to defend separate proceedings against him seeking to appoint a receiver over his assets.

High Court decision

Mr Justice Barr held that Mr O’Neill had made vague assertions and allegations against various parties.

However, no stateable cause of action could be identified against either of the defendants and the court held that it was insufficient for a plaintiff to rely on making bare allegations in a statement of claim-there must be some evidential basis to show a stateable cause of action.

Mr Justice Barr also decided it was not permissible to bring proceedings in order to seek documents that were needed for separate proceedings.

For these reasons Mr O’Neill’s case was held to be frivolous and vexatious and dismissed the action, notwithstanding the Court’s recognition that the power of the court to strike out proceedings should used sparingly and with caution. However, if a court is convinced that a claim will fail such pleadings will be struck out. (Aer Rianta c.p.t. v. Ryanair Limited [2004] 1 IR 506, Denham J. )

Read the full case here: Arthur O’Neill v Celtic Residential Irish Securitisation PLC and Ors [2020] IEHC 334