Nicholas Kearns

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The Hon. Mr. Justice
Nicholas Kearns
President of the High Court
In office
October 2009 – 19 December 2015
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary McAleese
Preceded by Richard Johnson
Succeeded by Peter Kelly
Personal details
Born 1946
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Alma mater King's Inns
Profession Judge, Barrister

Nicholas Kearns (born 1946) was the President of the High Court of Ireland, and ex officio member of the Supreme Court. He was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1998 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in November 2004. He was appointed as President of the High Court in October 2009.[1] He retired as President of the High Court on 19 December 2015.

Doherty v. Ireland[edit]

On 12 July 2010, the High Court granted leave to Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty for a judicial review into why a by-election was not being held in Donegal South-West.[2] The seat was vacant since June 2009 following the resignation of Fianna Fáil TD Pat the Cope Gallagher on his election to the European Parliament. On 2 November 2010, the High Court ruled that there was an unreasonable delay in holding the by-election. In his ruling, Kearns P. described the delay as unprecedented[3] and that the delay amounted to a breach of Doherty's constitutional rights. He declared that Section 30 (2) of the Electoral Act 1992 should be construed as requiring that a writ for a by-election be moved within a reasonable time of the vacancy arising.[4] He further stated,

However, Justice Kearns did not order the Government to set a date for the by-election. The Government announced on 4 November 2010 that the by-election would be held on 25 November. They also stated that they would appeal to the Supreme Court.[3] On 26 November 2010, Doherty won the by-election.


  1. ^ Coulter, Carol (7 October 2009). "Government nominates new president of High Court". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "Bye-election judicial review is allowed". RTÉ News. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Government to hold bye-election this month". RTÉ News. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Court declares byelection delay unconstitutional". The Irish Times. 4 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Doherty -v- Government of Ireland & Anor". 3 November 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Johnson
President of the High Court
October 2009–December 2015
Succeeded by
Peter Kelly