Hazel Lawlor to pay costs for failed action against Mahon

The High Court has ordered the widow of the late TD Liam Lawlor to pay the costs of her failed application aimed at preventing the Mahon Tribunal from making serious findings of misconduct against either herself and her husband unless proven beyond reasonable doubt.

In a judgment delivered last July, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy also dismissed Mrs Lawlor's application to the court to require the tribunal to fund "effective" legal representation for her before it.

The judge said he was satisfied that Hazel Lawlor's case had "not been substantiated by the arguments and submissions made to the court."

Mrs Lawlor's action lasted four days in the High Court, and the legal bill is estimated to be substantial.

Today, Mr Eoin McGonigal SC for Mrs Lawlor argued that his client should either receive her costs of the action, or that no order in relation to costs be made on the grounds that the case had raised matter of public importance in relation to tribunals.

However, lawyers for the Mahon Tribunal opposed the application, and said that Mrs Lawlor was not entitled to her costs.

It was argued that "no novel or exceptional point of law" had been raised during proceedings and therefore the practise that "the costs should follow the event," should apply.

Agreeing with counsel for the Tribunal, Mr Justice Murphy said that Mrs Lawlor was not entitled to her costs, and that the tribunal was entitled to their costs.

The judge agreed to place a stay on the costs in the event of an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Hazel Lawlor, Somerton House Lucan, Co Dublin, brought judicial review proceedings seeking several declarations, including that the Mahon Tribunal may not make findings of serious misconduct against her late husband Liam, who died in a car crash in October 2005, or herself, unless supported by evidence proven beyond any reasonable doubt and not on the balance of probabilities.

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