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Eoin O' Dell
Fri, 5 Dec 1997 18:51:59
Taylor v. Dickens


Reluctant as I am to utter (once again !) the immortal words "There is an Irish case ...", nonetheless, I want to mention not one, but three, in the context of Taylor v. Dickens.

First, the Taylor v. Dickens tendency to miss relevant restitutionary remedies and to claim only in contract is alive and well and living in Ireland (see, eg, Jobling-Purser v. Jackman (High Court, unreported, 12 January 1995, Costello P) [1995] R.L.R. s.210).

Second, nevertheless, there is an Irish case, in which the plaintiff sought not a quantum meruit (which was statute barred) but a constructive trust (which was not). It is Reidy v McGreevy (High Court, unreported, 19 March 1993, Barron J) [1994] R.L.R. s.183.

Third, it seems to me that the judgment in Taylor v. Dickens - as reported in the Times - takes a very narrow view of proprietary estoppel. By contrast, and on facts in which a nephew worked on the deceased uncle's farm, the Irish Supreme Court seems to have taken an extraordinarily generous view of that doctrine in the nephew's favour, in McCarron v. McCarron (Supreme Court, unreported, 13 February 1997) {1997] R.L.R. s.?* (compare a less nuanced but similarly generous view of the doctrine in Smyth v. Halpin (Irish Times Law Report 31 March 1997 (H.Ct., Geoghegan J.)) [1997] R.L.R. s.?*). It seems to me that Irish empiricism (or simply bad judicial craft) is proving excellent soil in which to plant portable palm trees - provided they can handle the rain (on which see Mee "Palm Trees in the Rain - New Model Constructive Trusts in Ireland" (1996) 1 Conveyancing and Property Law Journal 9 - quite properly critical of the imposition of constructive trusts without justification in principle).

(* The reason why I cannot give a section number to the 1997 RLR is that, though a contributor, I have yet to receive a copy, but notes on both cases should be in the Ireland chapter of the 1997 Review; copies of these or any other Irish material always available; if you are interested, you only have to ask me, (though I am such an inefficient correspondent you may have to wait a while !)).



Barrister, Lecturer in Law
Trinity College
Dublin 2

ph (+ 353 - 1) 608 1178
fax (+ 353 - 1) 677 0449

Live Long and Prosper !!
(All opinions are personal; no legal responsibility whatsoever is accepted.)

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