Last year, High Court Judge Aileen Donnelly refused permission for a UK firm to provide funding for a case involving businessman Tony Boyle against billionaire Denis O’Brien, former Fine Gael minister Michael Lowry and the State.
Mr Boyle claimed his company, Persona Digital Telephony, failed to secure a mobile phone licence in 1996 that was awarded to Mr O’Brien’s Esat Digifone consortium because, he claims, Esat won the licence by bribing Mr Lowry. The politician was the Minister for Communications at the time. The defendants in the case have all strongly denied the allegations made by Mr Boyle.
Mr Boyle told the High Court that he requires €10m to pursue his case. The money would be sourced through a third party funding agreement. Funding litigation remains illegal in Ireland under the doctrine of Champerty and Maintenance.
This was upheld by Judge Donnelly last year when she stated that such recourse remains unlawful in Ireland. The hope however is that the Supreme Court will remove the prohibition. The Supreme Court permitted the appeal, submitted directly Mr Boyle’s legal team. This demonstrates their recognition that the issue is one of significant public importance.
The decision will of course not only carry great importance for Mr Boyle but also for the litigation finance industry. It is understood that the Supreme Court reserved its judgment in this case at the close of submissions by the parties on 4 April 2017. We will keep an eye on how this develops and update with more information.
SPV Optimal Osus Limited v HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Ireland) Limited & Ors  IECA 56
 http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=576c6ed9-e3ab-44da-adf2-c2887dd296f6  http://www.irishtimes.com/business/retail-and-services/judge-says-english-firm-cannot-fund-denis-o-brien-case-1.2617753  http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/firm-that-funds-cases-eyes-dublin-move-as-litigation-ban-tipped-to-go-35597629.html