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Decision of the Supreme Court in Quinn & Ors. v. IBRC & Ors

Martin Hayden SC acted on behalf of the Plaintiffs and Respondents in relation to a decision of the Irish High Court, the subject of appeal, in which the High Court as a preliminary issue had held that the Quinns could rely upon illegality arising out of regulatory breach as a basis for seeking to set aside certain guarantees and share pledges.

The High Court had followed the majority in the English decision of Tinsley v. Milligan [1994] 1 AC 340. The Irish Supreme Court, however, in part following the Australian approach in Yango Pastoral Company Pty. Limited and Ors. v. First Chicago Australia Limited [1978] 139 CLR 410 up to Master Education Services v. Ketchell [2008] HCA 38, overturned the High Court in what is a seminal decision defining, in modern terms, the parameters of regulatory illegality and its consequences for the enforceability or otherwise of various contractual provisions.

It is a decision that reviews the history and application of the ex turpi causa doctrine in this context, stretching back to Holman v. Johnson (1775) 1 Cowp. 341 and proceeding through to the views of Lord Hoffman in Gray v. Thomas Trains Limited [2009] 1 AC 1339.”


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