Original language


Date of text
Type of court
National - higher court
Court name
Supreme Court of Ireland
Jurisdiction, Environmental Impact Assessments, Damages
Free tags
Environment gen.
Legal questions
Murray C.J., Fennelly, Macken.
Four residents had claimed Britain failed to observe EU directives in relation to the nuclear reprocessing plant and wanted an injunction from the High Court directing BNFL to comply with those directives. They were also seeking damages for alleged assault, nuisance, trespass and negligence. BNFL had claimed the Irish courts could not pronounce on or invalidate the regulatory procedures adopted and fulfilled by the sovereign bodies of another EU member-state. The four persons taking the action against BNFL have also taken proceedings against Ireland and the Attorney General alleging the State failed to take action, including legal action, to prevent the THORP (Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant) plant coming into operation. High Court yesterday found it had no jurisdiction to hear the case. The three-judge Supreme Court agreed with the previous High Court ruling that the court does not have the jurisdiction to decide if the THORP plant at Sellafield should have been subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment in line with EU directives. It follows that there was no jurisdiction to grant a mandatory injunction compelling BNFL to comply with the directives. The ultimate question, Judge Fennelly said, was whether the courts of one member state in the EU have jurisdiction to determine the lawfulness and validity of administrative procedures and decisions of another member state, and the apex Court is satisfied that the High Court judge was correct to hold that it does not have that jurisdiction.