Hearing over John Delaney documents unlikely to take place for several months

Ms Leonie Reynolds who for almost two years has been dealing with the issues arising out of the corporate watchdog's​ seizure of 280,000 documents in February 2020, from the FAI's offices, expressed the court’s strong desire to bring the matter to a conclusion.
Hearing over John Delaney documents unlikely to take place for several months

The hearing of a High Court action to determine all outstanding matters on whether documents relating to former FAI chief executive John Delaney are covered by legal professional privilege and cannot be used by the ODCE, is unlikely to take place for several months.

On Tuesday, Ms Leonie Reynolds who for almost two years has been dealing with the issues arising out of the corporate watchdog's​ seizure of 280,000 documents in February 2020, from the FAI's offices, expressed the court’s strong desire to bring the matter to a conclusion.

The judge made directions regarding the exchange of legal documents concerning all the issues remaining between the parties and adjourned the case to a date in late March.

The judge added that at that stage she hoped to be able to fix a hearing date, when all of the outstanding issues concerning the legal professional privilege (LPP) claims, can be put before the court.

However, due to pressure on the court the judge said she did not know if there was enough time available to hear the case during the current legal term which finishes on April 8th next.

During a brief hearing, the judge was also informed that Mr Delaney is to be represented by a new firm of solicitors, the Detroit, US-based international law firm, Clark Hill.

New representation

Jack Tchrakian Bl for Mr Delaney said the new representation arises following the merger between the firm of his client's current representative solicitor Eames Solicitors and Clark Hill, which has offices in Ireland, Mexico and the US.

Counsel said that despite the change the same legal team will continue to represent Mr Delaney in the proceedings with the ODCE.

The judge, noting that there was no objection to the change by the ODCE, directed that the formal notice indicating that new solicitors were on record for Mr Delaney be done as soon as possible.

The documentation at the centre of the dispute between the parties was taken as part of the cache of documents covering a 17-year period, seized in February 2020.

The ODCE wants to use the material as part of its ongoing criminal probe.

Any documents deemed covered by LPP cannot be used by the ODCE as part of the investigation into certain matters at the FAI.

Following a review by two court appointed independent barristers recommendations were made to the court regarding what documents should be deemed covered by LPP.

Legal advice

Among the issues yet to be determined in the proceedings is the ODCE's application to review recommendations that some 1,100 seized documents, relating to Mr Delaney, are covered by LPP.

Mr Delaney claims these documents contain certain legal advice given to him regarding litigation that occurred during the many years he was with the Association, and therefore are covered by LPP.

The ODCE claims that LPP may not apply to many of these documents.

When the matter was previously before the court the Judge agreed with the ODCE that Mr Delaney had failed to comply with an order to provide the court with details about litigation he had been involved with.

Mr Delaney claims that despite the best efforts neither he nor his lawyers have had sufficient time to provide the court with the information it requires.

He also claims he requires copies of certain documents from the ODCE to fully comply with the order, but the ODCE's refused to provide him with such copies.

Mr Delaney also rejects claims by the ODCE that he has delayed the process.

The ODCE rejects Mr Delaney's arguments that he is entitled to copies of the documents or that he has had insufficient time to provide the court with the material in question.

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