• E83 The Fifth Court

    Problems have emerged around new legislation around enduring powers of attorney (EPA). On this episode hosts Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL discuss these issues, and some solutions, with David Byrnes BL and solicitor Flor McCarthy, Founder Director of Solicitors Growth, Ireland’s largest independent community of mutual support and collegiality for Irish legal professionals. David tells his own personal and poignant story about issues that arose with his own father-in-law.

    Mark and Peter also discuss three fresh cases from the Decisis.ie file

    A tax case where a party failed to pay €180k in its entirety.Asylum law. A case involving a 'marriage of convenience'A money laundering case, referencing the infamous Northern Bank robbery.

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  • E82 The Fifth Court

    Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL talk to Kevin O'Higgins, solicitor, about his life and times.

    As he says himself, 'After 40+ years of practising law, I’ve learned a few things along the way!' and he shares some of that knowledge at


    BTW, when he started in law a fax machine was seen as near revolutionary!

    A sole practitioner he says he's so busy he sometimes turns business away.

    His recommendations for a legal book, Eugene McCague's book on law firm Arthur Cox.

    And, as always, three cases from the Decisis.ie casebook;

    A Judicial Review of a case involving The College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland and recognition of a qualificationA Personal Injuries case taken against the State judged to be an abuse of the appeal processAn Isaac Wunder order, a person claiming he was 'immune from court orders'

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  • E81 The Fifth Court

    Supported by Clio Legal Software

    Hosts Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL spoke to Arko Ganguli, co-founder of Letigify, an AI powered solution using audio-video authentication that allows clients to notarize documents online remotely from anywhere, without the hassle of visiting a notary public in person.

    Arko is a trained lawyer and a legal consultant for over eleven years, working with various clients and organisations in different sectors and domains. He's also a certified mediator and a design thinking practitioner, with a passion for changing the way law works in the world, enabling legal teams and their clients to carry out their business more efficiently. He's eager to explore innovative ideas in legal tech, and to collaborate with other entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors in the field.

    And as always, our two hosts discuss three new cases from the Decisis.ie website

    An asylum case taken by a Ghanian national who claimed he was gay. IPAT questioned his bona fides.A family law case where foster parents tried to adopt a fostered child who had complex medical needs, but the birth mother withheld consent.A defamation case involving Google, YouTube (owned by Google) that was taken too late to join them as defendants.

    Arko recommends 'Judgement at Nuremberg' a 1961 American epic legal drama film directed by Stanley Kramer,

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  • E80 of The Fifth Court was recorded at the Dublin Tech Summit

    AI not a concept, but a reality now in law. This is a must listen-to episode if you want to know what's about to happen to your legal practice.

    Dr Leif-Nissen Lundbæk is FORBES 30-Under-30 Listmaker. He's also co-founder and CEO of the AI company Xayn. His company is working with CMS, an international law firm, offering companies and organisations advice on a full range of legal issues. CMS consists of 18 independent law firms with about 80 offices worldwide and is the world's 5th largest law firm by lawyer headcount and the 21st by revenue.

    Prior to founding Xayn, Leif-Nissen Lundbæk worked at Daimler AG and IBM. He holds a degree in Economics from Humboldt University in Berlin, an MSc in Mathematics from Heidelberg University, an MSc with Distinction in Software Engineering from Oxford University, and a PhD in Computer Science from Imperial College London.


    Plus three more cases from the Decisis.ie casebook

    A case where a wedding guest slipped on a dancefloor and her case was appealed right up to the Court of Appeal. The judge was very specific is his view on the plaintiffs sobriety at the event.A case involving a bank lending a mortgage to a couple, where the husband was making repayments but the lending contract was with the wife.A contractual dispute between an Irish company and a Dutch company involving a heat exchanger and chicken manure.

    With thanks to Clio legal software

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  • E79 The Fifth Court

    Hosts Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL are joined by barrister Mema Byrne BL, to talk about the 2nd edition of her book, Landlord and Tenant, (Commercial Sector). The three discuss many issues around this area of law in which she works and lectures - but also the road that brought her to law. She worked in banking which she says didn't 'resonate with her at all'. She had a child, needed a job, but not in banking. She did a night course in law - and as she says herself, started to 'eat it up'.

    Her cultural recommendations include the art exhibition at the Royal Hibernia Academy as well as a book, Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda (1946).

    With thanks to Clio legal software

    And, as always, the two hosts review three higher court cases drawn from the Decisis.ie casebook

    The first case concerns the mandatory retirement age for a Sheriff (currently 70 years of age)The second case is about a confiscation order, its proportionality, amounting to almost €400,000The third case revolved around whether a baseball bat, used in an alleged assault, was made of metal or timber

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  • E78 The Fifth Court

    DSBA Legal Podcast of the Year

    With thanks to Clio Legal Software.

    Bloomsday is a celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses, taking place annually on June 16th. The date commemorates the events of the novel, which are set on June 16, 1904. This day is significant because it marks Joyce's first outing with his future wife, Nora Barnacle.

    The publication of Ulysses itself became a landmark legal case in literary history. The novel was banned for obscenity in several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, leading to legal battles that challenged and eventually redefined the limits of literary expression and censorship.

    Our hosts, barristers and literary buffs, Peter Leonard and Mark Tottenham discuss some of the many issues around the case taken in the US including some nuggets that you'll be able to 'drop' at the dinner party table when next discussing why you haven't finished reading Ulysses.

    As always, Peter and Mark also discuss some more recent cases from the Decisis.ie casebook.

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  • E77 The Fifth Court - with @Mark Tottenham BL and @Peter Leonard BL

    With thanks to Clio Legal Software

    Something you may not have considered.

    The Polish community, numbering above 100,000, is one of Ireland's largest non-Irish communities. Naturally, they need legal representation and advice. So who do they go to?

    Krystian Boino obtained his masters degree from the University of Wroclaw, Poland in 2003. By 2006 he had completed a judge’s apprenticeship and successfully passed exams which entitled him to apply for judge vacancies in Poland. Krystian also qualified as a Polish solicitor (Radca Prawny) and is a fully qualified Irish solicitor since 2013.

    Krystian says he's the only such lawyer from Poland registered in Ireland having full professional qualifications in both jurisdictions. He has been practicing since 2006 with William Crean & Co Solicitors and then with JC Hoban & Company Solicitors. He established Hoban Boino Solicitors in partnership with Joanne Hoban. Krystian advises clients from both Ireland and Poland as well as many other nationalities. He specialises in personal injury litigation and employment law and also advises clients in wide range of aspects of Polish law regarding wills and property.

    Peter and Mark also take a look at three more curious cases from the Decisis.ie casebook

    An Order 67 company law caseA case involving a guarantee given by a father for a son's debts, when the father tragically died.A case where the court was asked to adjudicate on the transfer of a vulnerable minor to the UK for care as suitable care was not available in Ireland.

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  • E76 The Fifth Court

    DSBA 'Podcast of the Year'

    With thanks to Clio Legal Software

    Hosts Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL interrogate Senator (and former councillor) Barry Ward BL about the powers that local authorities have and the claimed powers of local councillors (especially in the light of claims made in election literature).He discusses all aspects of local authorities including the corruption of the 1990's, the number of elected councillors and whether that could/should be cut, what the office of the new elected Mayor of Limerick might mean, and why other EU countries appear to have a better system of local government than Ireland (which ranks close to the bottom of surveys).

    Barry's 'cultural recommendation'? Fatherland, by Robert Harris, a 1992 novel of alternate history conceived as: "What might have happened if the Nazis won World War II?

    Our hosts also look at a further three cases from the Decisis.ie casebook

    A tax compliance case where a tax payer wanted to cross examine his investigating revenue officer. The judge decided it was an attempt at trying to delay the case.A personal injuries case where a woman claimed she fell over tree roots that had broken through the pavement. She couldn't tell the court exactly where she fell nor did any of her three friends who her with her on the night of the fall choose to give evidence. A case involving the Charity Regulatory Authority and their powers of search (the CRA has assumed powers previously held under the AG's office). The Court decided that there was no obligation on the CRA to give advance warnings of investigations.

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  • E75 The Fifth Court - recorded at the Solicitor's Growth Summit

    Our hosts, Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL are joined by barrister Joe Brolly BL, the well know GAA football analyst who played at senior level for Derry and was a member of that county's only All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winning side in 1993. An entertaining romp through the life and times of the well known lawyer and pundit. About the Northern Troubles, according to Joe his mother always said, 'he started the Troubles'. Having won an All-Ireland he was dispirited and wondered 'Is that it?' He denies Mary McAleese's description of him being (one of her) outstanding students. Great entertainment.

    His book recommendation? 'The Fight' by Norman Mailer.

    Peter and Mark also delve into three more cases from the Decisis.ie casebook. They include:

    A bankruptcy case where there was non-disclosure of a property in Thailand and a BVI company. A case involving an 'enduring power of attorney' where a woman was said not to have the ability to control her own affairs.A child abduction case where the judge decided it was not in the child's interest to be sent back to Ireland from Poland.

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  • E74 The Fifth Court with Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL

    From Riverdance to the Four Courts, a life after RTE for TV personality turned barrister Cynthia Ni Mhurchú who is hoping for another career pivot as she stands for election for the EU Parliament. Obviously there was discussion with our two hosts about the iconic Eurovision Song Contest night, presented in Dublin by Cynthia and the late Gerry Ryan along with Michael Flatley, 'The Bull McCabe' is how she describes him, and the beautiful Jean Butler. She relives that truly electric evening along with "The Rock'n'Roll Kids"

    After TV came a career in law and she concentrates on family law nowadays, saying about herself that she 'does a lot of listening'. However a fateful meeting at a dinner convinced her it was time to head for Europe where she hopes to make a change, particularly around women and the law.

    This episodes cases from the Decisis.ie casebook include;

    A medical negligence case involving a woman who sustained injuries during childbirth back but the defence claimed that the statute of limitations applied.A property dispute involving a family home.A wardship case about whether a woman, a ward at the time, was allowed to take control of her own life again.

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  • E73 The Fifth Court with @Mark Tottenham BL and @Peter Leonard BL were invited to attend a conference in Dublin Castle celebrating 100 years of Irish courts

    Part 2. Our hosts interviewed Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan and Prof. Diarmaid Ferriter of UCD discussing the founding of the Irish courts system post British rule, the effect of an increase of the number of Supreme Court judges from 3 to 5, the 1937 Constitution ("not the creation of one man [De Valera]"), pushback to the creation of the Office of President, the great understanding of De Valera of constitutional law drafting, "the '37 Constitution was a very significant human rights document", the Constitution was a 'great success',

    Plus three more recent important cases, drawn from the Decisis.ie casebook including

    An injunction successfully granted against a winding up petition against a businessA Landlord and Tenant case about a claim of frustration of a lease due to Covid.A Personal Injuries case taken by a former pupil against his old school long after having left.

    With thanks to Clio legal software

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  • E72 The Fifth Court with @Mark Tottenham BL and @Peter Leonard BL were invited to attend a conference in Dublin Castle celebrating 100 years of Irish courts

    Part 1. Our hosts interviewed Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan and Prof. Diarmaid Ferriter of UCD discussing the founding of the Irish courts system post British rule, how politicians had to 'tread softly' to keep some of the more conservative lawyers on side, how referrals to the British Privy Council were ended, and on a lighter note, whether Mr. Justice Hogan would have preferred to the Brehon Law type robes that had been mooted!

    The two host also discuss three more cases from the Decisis.ie casebook

    The first case involved a non-compete clause where a senior staff member joined a rival company.The second High Court case is a Succession Acts case and a dispute involving three siblings and a question over signatures on disclaimersThe third case is a Defamation action involving businessman Declan Ganley and news outlet CNN

    With thanks to Clio Legal Software

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  • Episode 71 The Fifth Court with Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL

    The Apple Tax Case

    Will they, won't they? Should they, would they?

    Questions, questions, questions about the now infamous 'Apple tax case' whereby some groups are hoping to make the Irish State accept more than €13bn in taxes they say are owed by the global iPhone maker. Meanwhile the Irish Government is hoping to avoid receiving this massive windfall!

    It's a case without precedent in Ireland that has given its own windfall to the commentariat.

    On this episode our hosts interview Dr. Charles Garavan, lawyer and tax expert, who is Assistant Professor at the Business Faculty at UCD. (BTW, he's also a 'memory man' that you'll learn more about on the podcast. Fascinating.).

    The Apple case may be heading, slowly but finally, towards a conclusion. This interview is an 'Apple Tax 101' that will have you perfectly informed when discussing it with colleagues.

    Charles' book choice is 'A Guide to the Good Life' by William B. Irvine

    As always our two hosts also delve into three recent cases from the Decisis.ie casebook, including;

    A habeas corpus application where the judge ruled that a doctor had withheld relevant informationA personal injuries case where an employee cut themselves whilst carrying trays. The judge in this case decided there was partial responsibilityA case under a European Arrest Warrant where a Czech national was wanted for road traffic offences in his native country. The judge ordered him sent back.

    With thanks to Clio legal software

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  • E70 The Fifth Court

    Hosts Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL entertain a most entertaining guest on this episode. Des Geraghty, a national figure for his work in the trade union movement, former president of SIPTU, one time MEP, a writer, musician and so much more (as you'll hear) joins our two interlocutors to discuss the most interesting cases ( as there were a number) involving the so-called Sinn Fein Funds. The conversation eventually gets to the London based Hurlingham private members club, founded in 1869, and how its history had a direct bearing on where those so-called 'Sinn Fein Funds' ended up. It will also be of interest to students of recent Irish history as to how Judge Kingsmill Moore traced back the Sinn Fein lineage. A bit of 'Who Do You Think You Are' on The Fifth Court.

    Three cases from the Decisis legal casebook include;

    A case involving a collision at sea involving a trawler and a bulk carrier. One of them made 'foolhardy turn' according to the judge hearing the case.A second is a personal injuries case and the discovery of medical records. The judge decided he didn't want any fishing expeditions.The third case is yet another Isaac Wunder order where Mr. Justice Charles Meenan decided that the appellants had made scurrilous claims.

    With thanks to Clio Legal Software.

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  • E69 The Fifth Court with Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL

    Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Council of Civil Liberties talks about the so-called 'Hate Speech' legislation and how difficult it can be to prosecute and enforce such laws. It's a very timely interview about some of the many complexities that could arise from such legislation, but also about the reasons that the legislation may be needed in the first place.

    Liam also discusses his three years working as general adviser to Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins. Fascinatingly he asserts that the media and others are incorrect when they query whether the President's 'words' have been cleared by the Government. He says that such permission is simply not necessary and may be 'imagined by the commentariat'. He calls it an 'incredible misconception'. He also talks about when the President visited the UK.

    And, as usual, our interlocutors discuss three recent cases drawn from the Decisis casebook including;

    + A challenge to a planning permission given to a windfarm. Judge Egan decided that the windfarm was too noisy.

    + A 'delay' case where little or nothing had proceeded in this case since 2009 but was in front of the courts again in 2023.

    + A case where a family in a 'Witness Protection Programme' were seeking new marriage certificates and birth certificates to confirm the family's new identity. However, it seems it's not that straightforward to get a new identity, and legislation may be needed.

    As always, essential listening for practitioners, students and the curious public.

    With thanks to Clio Legal Software

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  • E68 The Fifth Court

    Winner Dublin Solicitors' Bar Association Legal Podcast of the Year

    Hosts Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL discuss some of the biggest and best known Irish corporate law cases with one of the Big Beasts in corporate law in Ireland, solicitor and Senior Counsel Paul Egan, who has the most fascinating background in theatre, music and music composition. There's even mention of Mike Oldfield, of Tubular Bells fame. We doubt if you knew that about this seriously eminent lawyer?

    Paul's choice of books for listeners are 'Barbarians at the Gate' and 'Servants of the Damned'. He also recommends the movie 'Wall St.'.

    Peter and Mark also tackle three recent high profile cases from the Decisis casebook.

    A case involving the signing of a bond in reference to a suspended sentence. But the case got a bit more complicated than that when the accused left court without having signed the bond.A second case involving a family law issue and an overseas bankruptcy that could have a direct bearing on the family law hearing.Finally, a planning case involving the granting of a planning permission for a Strategic Planning Development and An Bord Pleanála

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  • E67 The Fifth Court with Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL

    On this episode, former Garda sergeant now barrister, Michael Daly BL, author of a new book on drink and drug driving in Ireland discusses some of the many legal issues involved in this most contentious area of law.

    The book a meticulously compiled guide, unravels all the dimensions of drink and drug driving offences offering up the knowledge and insights necessary to navigate this ever-evolving complex area of law. His book draws on judgments of the Superior Courts in this jurisdiction and elsewhere, and explores the intricate web of statutes, regulations and constitutional principles that inform this area of law.

    From the initial stop by the Gardai to sobriety tests, blood alcohol concentration analysis and trial procedures, each stage of the legal process is dissected with precision. This arms the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the nuances involved.

    The layout follows a chronological order from the initial suspicion by Gardaí right through to an appeal to the Circuit Court or a case stated.

    Beyond the courtroom, the broader implications of drink and drug driving is referred to including, but not limited to the rights of victims, comments by the Judiciary and the cost to society.

    Peter and Mark also discuss three more cases from the Decisis.ie casebook.

    A case involving a property dispute where there were questions about the property's titleA labour law dispute between a trade union and a large construction contractor focussed on previous agreements and whether all necessary criteria had been met.A third case involving the purchase of property in Italy by a number of family members and where the judge decided that a full hearing of the facts was necessary.



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  • E66 The Fifth Court

    Hosts Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL have a most entertaining discussion with retired District Justice, Olann Kelleher, about his fourteen years on the bench in Cork (as well as being on the bench for the historic Munster V All-Blacks match in 1978 - including a classic one-liner from legend Moss Keane).

    The former judge says there are too many loopholes in our drink/driving laws and they need to be updated. Continuing on the alcohol theme his greatest shock was the abuse suffered by A&E nurses and other staff who are regularly attacked by drunken patients. He cites the case of one nurse who was so traumatised by being attacked that she'll never work as a nurse again.

    He is hugely concerned about the amount of cocaine use in Cork and he explains how he dealt with 'first time cocaine' cases along with the Probation Services.

    And he refers to the harassment of Cork legend Roy Keane by locals, a subsequent court case and the wisdom of the Number 16 shirt wearer and why he insisted on bringing the matter to court, against the wishes of his then employers.

    His recommendation of a legal book for either professional or lay person is Ruadhán Mac Cormaic's book, 'The Supreme Court' - easily the most recommended book on the podcast.

    This interview will put a smile on your face.

    Our interlocutors also review three cases from the Decisis.ie casebook

    A waste management case and the refusal of a permit to a person deemed not 'fit and proper'A case involving a planning delay that our two barristers felt would have great significance for 'delayed' cases.A case about misconduct in court (accused threw a bible at the judge) and whether the accused could be sanctioned by the Prison Authority.

    With thanks to Clio.com/ie

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  • E65 The Fifth Court

    Saoirse Brady, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, joins Peter Leonard BL and Mark Tottenham BL, to talk all things prisons related (including the problems caused by mental health issues in jails - a very, very big problem according to Saoirse). Interestingly, research from Maynooth University is showing that a big majority (9 out of 10) of employers are willing to give ex-prisoners a chance in the workplace, something that may surprise.

    On the date of recording the Irish Prison System was at 107% capacity.

    Her recommendations for a book include 'Poor' by Katriona O'Sullivan and 'Just Mercy' by Bryan Stevenson

    And, as always, our interlocutors interrogate some recent high profile legal cases from the Decisis.ie casebook:

    The first case concerns the cost of judicial review where the respondent was a solicitor.The second case concerns fixed penalty notices given out by An Garda Síochána during the Covid lockdownThe third case, in the name of the fada, is about the use of the 'síne fada' (or as Google likes to describe it, 'the long extension'), on websites. A case for the Data Protection Commission.

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  • E64 The Fifth Court, boldly going where no legal podcast has gone before.

    Hosts Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL talk to Zeldine O'Brien BL, a recognised expert in international space law who knows who 'owns' the Moon? What laws do you have to observe if you venture into outer space? Can you sell property on other planets? This is just brilliant, and not at all as straightforward as you may imagine.

    Zeldine is a practising barrister and holds a Ph.D on international space law. During her years of doctoral research, she was a participant in the European Space Agency's student participation programme. She has published widely in the field of space law in Ireland, the Netherlands and the U.S. and has taught at Trinity's Law School. She has also taught in Kosovo with the Irish Rule of Law International's project there in coordination with the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates. She is a member of the Society of Legal Scholars.

    As always our dynamic duo of interlocutors discuss three recent prominent cases from the Decisis.ie casebook.

    A case between Ryanair and On The Beach Ltd, concerning the latter's alleged screen scraping.A case involving a lay litigant who brought proceedings against the HSE, arising from certain medical treatments but the appellant hadn't brought any expert medical opinion to support her claim. In the third case the issue of 'nesting', where children remain in the family home, whilst the parents move in and out, alternately, following a separation, something that arises when two parents can't afford two separate homes.

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