Man loses appeal over claim 42 acres near airport 'sold too cheap'

The Court of Appeal ruling follows nearly 20 years of litigation over the sale by Mark Monks’ late father James and his mother Ella of the land at Huntstown House, Cloghran

Man loses appeal over claim 42 acres near airport 'sold too cheap'

A man who claimed 42 acres near Dublin Airport was "sold too cheap" by his father in 1992 has been prohibited from bringing any more legal cases over the property without the permission of the High Court.

The Court of Appeal ruling follows nearly 20 years of litigation over the sale by Mark Monks’ late father James and his mother Ella of the land at Huntstown House, Cloghran, to the Dublin Airport Authority’s (DAA) predecessor Aer Rianta for IR£340,000 (€431,000).

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) requires part of the site to build a new air traffic control tower.

James Monks died in 1996 and in 2000 Aer Rianta issued proceedings against Mark Monks, as executor of his father's estate, seeking vacant possession of the land and payment of rent arrears for it.

A settlement was reached in 2004 whereby Mr Monks and his mother agreed to deliver up vacant possession.

In February 2017, the DAA and the IAA got a High Court injunction preventing Mr Monks from trespassing on the land. The previous month Mr Monks had issued his own proceedings against the DAA and IAA seeking an order he was the beneficial owner of the land.

In July 2017, the High Court ruled the DAA/IAA had good title and Mr Monks had failed to establish adverse possession rights. The court also lifted a legal bar, called a lis pendens, on dealing with the property which had been obtained by Mr Monks.

Later in July 2017, the court also struck out Mr Monks action as frivolous, vexatious and bound to fail.

In October 2017, Mr Monks issued further proceedings claiming that, during the 1992 sale of the land, Aer Rianta coerced his father to enter the contract of sale in the knowledge that he (James Monks) was seriously ill at the time. Mr Monks also argued the new case related to different land from the 1992 sale and concerned a 1.6acre plot.

He also claimed his father and mother's signatures on the sale were fraudulent and the "land was sold too cheap". The claims were denied.

Arising out of those proceedings, then-High Court judge Brian McGovern, who had already ruled the DAA/IAA were owners, said it was "beyond belief" Mr Monks brought further proceedings within days of his judgment.

Mr Justice McGovern made an order, called an "Issac Wunder", restraining Mr Monks from bringing any more proceedings in relation to the land without the permission of the court.

Mr Monks appealed the Issac Wunder order arguing his proceedings should not have been struck out because they related to a 1.6 acre plot across the road from a section known as McCabe’s field.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) found there was no evidence before the High Court supporting his claim and he was unable to identify the legal basis for it when asked to do so.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton, on behalf of the three-judge CoA, was satisfied the Issac Wunder order made by the High Court was appropriate and proportionate particularly as Mr Monks had only raised the 1.6 acre plot for the first time during the appeal.

Mr Justice Maurice Collins, in a separate judgment, agreed with Mr Justice Haughton.

He said however if Mr Monks can formulate an arguable and plausible claim in relation to the 1.6 acres, it would be open to him to ask the High Court for leave to institute proceedings in relation to it.

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