Prospect Law secures €1M settlement in care home action

A man in his early 20s with a physical and intellectual disability who was pushed by a fellow respite service user, causing him a severe traumatic brain injury, has settled his High Court action for €1 million.

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Prospect Law is a dynamic, community-based law firm offering top class legal services in all areas of civil law, including personal injury, family law, property transactions, inheritance, probate and constitutional law.

Our high profile landmark cases have set legal precedents and are widely cited in legal texts. From single people, families to small businesses our experienced legal advisers provide valuable legal advice across a range of issues.

We’re proud of the relationships we forge, long term, with our clients. Many of them have been with us for decades. They may come with an injury, return to buy a house, and then decide to make a will. The wheel of life keeps turning.

If you’ve been injured in hospital or elsewhere, suffered discrimination in the workplace, been abused or bullied at work, or have issues with family law, inheritance, buying or selling property, whatever life throws at you, we’re here to help.

Prospect Law also offers expertise to the business community, getting work permits for critical skills visas as well as general work permits, and drawing up partnership agreements and employment contracts.

Prospect Law can help if:

• you’ve suffered a personal injury, in an accident, institution or wherever, due to neglect, breach of duty of care or both
• you’ve been injured as a result of medical negligence
• you’re trying to buy and/or sell a property
• you’d like to make a will – this might require taking out a power of attorney, estate management, tax planning, planning for a minor or adult with special needs
• you’ve concerns about health care, long term care options, living wills, patient rights
• you’re responsible for administering a will
• you’re being discriminated against and/or bullied
• your rights as a disabled person have been breached

Our History

Prospect Law was founded by solicitor Ruadhán Mac Aodháin in December 2018, a leading public interest lawyer in the city and former barrister. Ruadhán is assisted by Colm MacGeehin, a highly respected solicitor who acts as consultant to the firm, and has over forty years’ experience in conveyancing, probate, personal injury and constitutional law.

Ruadhán Mac Aodháin

As a team, we offer expertise underpinned by values, and delivered with empathy and energy. This is why the individuals, families, communities and SMEs who make up our diverse clientele return to Prospect Law again and again. Some are Irish speakers; we offer a full range of legal services as Gaeilge. Colm MacGeehin was Irish language practitioner of the year in 2015.

During his first year at the Irish Bar, Ruadhán acted as junior counsel in one of the major constitutional cases of the past three decades, Doherty v Government of Ireland. He spent seven years as a barrister, practising in the criminal courts and acting as junior counsel in other successful constitutional cases, such as McCrystal v Minister for Children and others.

As an academic lawyer, he designed and directed the first ever electoral and constitutional law course in Ireland, which was offered as a Diploma Course in Democracy and Electoral Law at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns.

Ruadhán set up Prospect Law after being admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of the Law Society of Ireland. He has in depth knowledge of all areas of civil law, and is an acknowledged expert in personal injury law, medical negligence, immigration, conveyancing, family law and civil liberties.

Colm MacGeehin has been in independent practice for over four decades, advising individuals, families and SMEs on buying, selling and leasing property, family law, employment law, personal injury and medical negligence. He has won many stand out civil and constitutional rights cases in the High Court and Supreme Court and has made legal history in such diverse areas as citizenship rights, the right to fair procedures, asylum rights, language rights and surrogacy. Colm is currently taking a case on behalf of several TDs and a senator to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Colm MacGeehin

Landmark Court Actions

We see the law as an instrument, not only to find practical solutions, but to build a more just society. As a result of one of Colm’s cases, the state is obliged to treat both sides equally in a referendum debate.

In the run up to the 1995 referendum to remove the constitutional ban on divorce, the Government decided to promote only one side of the debate. Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna, who supported the introduction of divorce, challenged the legality of the decision to spend £500,000 solely on the yes side. The Supreme Court ruled that the Government had acted unconstitutionally in spending public monies in this way.

The state’s obligation to spend fairly on both sides in a referendum was an issue reasserted in 2012. In another landmark public challenge, Mark McCrystal, represented by Colm and Ruadhán, argued that government spending on its information campaign in the run up to the children’s referendum breached the McKenna principles (see McCrystal v Minister for Children and others). The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Mr McCrystal, finding that, where government acts in clear disregard of the constitution, the courts can intervene. Dramatically, as polling day approached, the judges of the Supreme Court found the Government to have acted unlawfully in spending public money in a way that was ‘not fair, equal or impartial’.

For more detailed information on these cases, see the Constitution Project at University College Cork.

Ruadhán and Colm had earlier won a landmark constitutional and electoral law case, when Pearse Doherty, then a Sinn Féin Senator, claimed in 2010 there had been excessive delay by the Government in filling the vacancy that had arisen in his constituency (Donegal South-West) left by formed TD, Pat The Cope Gallagher. The High Court ruled that the delay was unreasonable, and that it was so inordinate that it breached Mr Doherty’s constitutional rights. For a detailed discussion of the judgement in Doherty v Government of Ireland, see, among others, the Law Library module on electoral law.

A third case that has contributed to the sum of democracy in Ireland was taken by Colm and Ruadhán in 2015 on behalf of Jillian Godsil. Ms Godsil’s home, like so many others in Ireland in recent years, had been repossessed, and the law at that time denied those declared bankrupt in Ireland the right to contest Dáil and European elections. Her case (Godsil v Ireland and The Attorney General) succeeded. As a result, the 1992 Electoral Law prohibiting bankrupt citizens from standing for election was amended.

Prospect Law have also broken new ground in Ireland in medical negligence and human rights in maternity care. Colm has represented service users and service providers for over four decades in their battles against public and private authorities. He has also taken cases on behalf of families seeking inquests for their loved ones, and represented the family of Bimbo Onanuga, who died in a Dublin maternity hospital in 2010, and whose inquest took three years to secure.

Ruadhán recently organised the first ever conference in Ireland on reproductive health and human rights at Dublin’s Mansion House, where international and national speakers addressed such issues as inquest law and bodily autonomy. He made legal history in 2018, defending the mother in a case taken by the Health Service Executive to compel her to submit to an unwanted Caesarean section.

Upcoming Cases

Prospect Law have the following public interest cases pending before national and international courts of justice:

LF and others v Ireland

Three women who underwent involuntary symphysiotomy operations have cases proceeding before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The lead case, LF v Ireland, is about a woman who underwent an involuntary and unjustified symphysiotomy operation twelve days before going into labour at the Coombe Hospital in 1963. Her High Court challenge, which lasted 15 days in 2015 was rejected, as was her appeal to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

In August 2017, Ms LF along with ten other symphysiotomy survivor applicants lodged complaints at the European Court of Human Rights that Ireland had failed to vindicate their rights or carry out an effective investigation into the practice of non-consensual symphysiotomy in Ireland. The European Court of Human Rights notified Ireland of three of the applicant complaints in March 2019 and written legal submissions were exchanged in February 2020. Prospect Law expects a decision from the European Court in late 2020.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment

European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003
Article 3

Audrey Rooney and Ranae Von Meding v Ireland

Ranae and Audrey are a young married couple who live with their children, Ava and Arya in Dublin. Audrey provided the human egg for both the children that Ranae gave birth to. While they are both mothers to their children, until recently, Audrey had no rights in Irish law to be recognised as a parent or mother of Ava or Arya.

© Von Meding

The commencement of Section 21 of the Children and Family Relations Act in May 2020, however, has provided a gateway for parents in Audrey’s situation to seek legal confirmation of their status. Prospect Law will bring a joint application of behalf of Audrey and Ranae to the Dublin District Court in December 2020 seeking a declaration of parentage on behalf of this family.

1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003
Article 8

Shorthall, Brady and Others v Ireland

Deputies Róisín Shorthall and John Brady, along with Senator David Norris and others, have brought proceedings against Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights. Their complaint relates to the provisions of the Irish Constitution which require a mandatory swearing to God. The applicants say that they are excluded from taking up duties in a number of public offices, including the Council of State, unless they publicly make a religious declaration contrary to their own atheist beliefs. The God case was communicated to the European Court of Human Rights in September 2018. Prospect Law anticipates a communication from the Strasbourg in autumn 2020 with proceedings continuing into 2021.