Dunnes Stores has been given a limited stay on a High Court order that it fit out a long-awaited anchor store in the Point Village in Dublin's docklands.
Five years after a deadline passed requiring Dunnes to fit it out, Mr Justice David Barniville earlier this month granted Point Village Development Ltd (PVD) an order that the supermarket chain do the work.
On Wednesday, Dunnes was granted a limited stay in relation to fit-out pending appeal of the High Court decision but refused a stay on the decision related to other technical and administrative requirements to preparing the store for opening.
Michael Collins SC, for PVD, urged Mr Justice Barniville not to grant a stay saying Dunnes had not identified any substantial grounds for an appeal.
Dunnes had run points bordering on the unarguable, and they had delayed the process in a number of challenges and appeals over the years in their instructions to their lawyer Martin Hayden SC who with “his characteristic anarchic brilliance” had succeeded in delaying the project for ten years, he said.
No arguable point of appeal had been identified, and it would be entirely contrary to the justice of the case to grant a stay, he said.
Mr Hayden, in reply, thanked Mr Collins “for the promo and I will forward the bank draft in due course”. He disputed Mr Collins' suggestion that Dunnes had lost in most of its cases and said “we are not ahead on numbers but not that far behind”.
The costs of fitting out the store is substantial and there was fundamentally a disagreement on interpretation (of the contract with PVD) here which, while the High Court had emphatically rejected the Dunnes view, the appeal court may or may not say it is incorrect, he said.
Even if the court was not prepared to grant a stay on all the preparatory work, he asked there at least be a stay on the fit-out element.
Mr Justice Barniville said Dunnes is entitled to appeal and the appeal itself does not operate as a stay.
It was not immediately obvious what the grounds of appeal are but Dunnes are entitled to ventilate its arguments in the Court of Appeal (CoA) where the judge expected the case would get an early hearing date.
He was prepared to grant a stay until the case comes before the CoA for directions on how the appeal should proceed. Arguments as to a further stay could be made before that court.
He also awarded the costs of the case to PVD.