Ireland: The Supreme Court has overturned rulings made by a High Court judge in proceedings by Goode Concrete against CRH on grounds of alleged objective bias arising from the judge holding some Euro135,000 in CRH shares, according to The Irish Times.
Chief Justice Susan Denham said that, if the judges held shares directly in a company involved in litigation before them, as opposed to shares held in a pension plan or unit fund over which they have no control, they should 'generally' not hear the action. The disputed rulings, all unfavourable to the Goode side, were made between 2010 and 2012 by Justice John Cooke, who has since retired, on pre-trial matters in Goode Concrete's action over alleged uncompetitive practices by CRH. The issues will now be reheard before a different High Court judge.
By a four-to-one majority, the Supreme Court granted Goode's appeals against the rulings after finding that Justice Cooke erred in law in hearing the applications due to reasonable apprehension of objective bias due to his CRH shareholding. Justice Cooke held the shares himself; they were not in a trust or any other type of fund.