Green Party TD Patrick Costello loses case against Ceta

Mr Costello is concerned investor court measures in the deal for protecting Canadian investors in EU member states may impact on Ireland’s ability to introduce environmental regulation
Green Party TD Patrick Costello loses case against Ceta

In a judgment issued this morning, High Court Justice Mr Paul Butler said that Patrick Costello (pictured left) had "not established that ratification of CETA in the manner proposed would be clearly unconstitutional". File photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A Green Party TD has lost his case at the High Court against the constitutionality of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta).

Dublin South Central TD Patrick Costello had challenged the contentious treaty between the EU and Canada.

In a judgment issued this morning, High Court Justice Ms Nuala Butler said that Mr Costello had "not established that ratification of Ceta in the manner proposed would be clearly unconstitutional".

Mr Costello had told the High Court that he is concerned investor court measures in the deal for protecting Canadian investors in EU member states may impact on Ireland’s ability to introduce “much-needed” environmental regulation.

If the investor court system is brought into force without being sanctioned by a referendum, that would be contrary to Articles 15 and 34 of the Constitution, he claims.

However, in her judgment, Ms Justice Butler said that the deal's ratification was a matter for the Dáil and not the courts.

"The jurisdiction to be exercised by the Ceta Tribunal does have the characteristics of an administration of justice. However, it will not be an administration of justice under the Irish Constitution because the disputes which it will determine are not justiciable under Irish law as they will arise and can be determined only as a matter of international law. 

"Although investors will have a choice of jurisdiction in which to bring their claims, the choice to bring a claim before the Ceta Tribunal does not amount to a subtraction of jurisdiction from the Irish Courts.

"Ceta does not entail an unconstitutional transfer of the State’s sovereignty. Consequently, ratification of Ceta through Article 29.5.2 is constitutionally appropriate and permissible. It is a matter for the Dáil as to whether it is politically desirable to do so."

The judgment says that Ireland is not required to pass Ceta simply because it is a member of the EU.

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