This issue of Matheson's Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Winter Newsletter looks at the creation of Ireland's new Court of Appeal and the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry. In terms of legislative developments, we examine new legal protections for whistle-blowers and new insurance requirements for medical practitioners.

Recent cases examined include an English High Court case requiring internet service providers to block websites selling counterfeit products, as well as Irish High Court judgments related to champerty and public procurement. 

After-the-event insurance passes champerty and maintenance test 

Unlike in many other common law jurisdictions, the torts of maintenance and champerty continue to exist in Ireland.  Litigation funding is an issue that has recently come to the fore, putting the ancient laws of maintenance and champerty under the spotlight. 

Landmark judgment orders ISPs to block access to websites advertising and selling counterfeit goods 

Courts in Europe are well used to the music and film industries seeking orders blocking access to websites on the basis of copyright infringement. 

The Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014 

Medical practitioners are set to face a new legal requirement to hold adequate professional indemnity insurance. There is already an ethical obligation to do so, but new legislation is set to put this requirement on a statutory footing. 

Court of Appeal - end of the appeal backlog? 

In recent years, the Supreme Court has had a heavy backlog of appeals from the High Court.  The system of appeals from the High Court resulted in delays of up to four years before Supreme Court appeals would be heard.  Even priority cases were delayed by as much as 12 months

Banking inquiry opens its account 

The preparations for the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry are gathering pace. The Inquiry was formally established, and its terms of reference were set, on 26 November 2014. 

Protected Disclosures Act 2014 

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (the "Act") was finally signed into law in mid-July, to provide a specific statutory framework for whistle-blower protection in Irish law.  

High Court confirms that banks must strictly comply with bankers' rules on evidence 

Recent decisions of the High Court have confirmed that banks are required to satisfy strict proofs in enforcing claims against debtors, which will have significant practical implications for lenders contemplating the outsourcing of debt collection and the purchase of loans.  

Courts in leading procurement case refuse to lift automatic suspension 

OCS One Complete Solution Limited v Dublin Airport Authority PLC [2014] IEHC 306 

In public procurement contract awards, if a losing tenderer challenges the public authority's decision before contract signing, the contract cannot then be concluded with the winner – there is an "automatic suspension".  This is effectively an injunction preventing the new contract from being signed or going into effect. 

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