Flanagan & Anor -v- Crosby & Ors [2014] IEHC59

In November 2010 a couple secured a Circuit Court judgment against three individuals, for the sum of €8,955.53 plus costs taxed at approximately €23,000, in an action for breach of contract. Save for a few payments the judgment remained undischarged. In March 2012 the Circuit Court appointed a receiver by way of equitable execution in favour of the couple over the salary and emoluments due to one of the judgment debtors, Mr Thomas Crosby, by Roscommon County Council in his position as a councillor.This decision was appealed by Mr Crosby who argued that case law does not permit such an appointment. The appeal was heard by Hogan J. who allowed the appeal, confirming that the appointment of a receiver by way of equitable execution is confined to enforcement of equitable rights only (Flanagan & Anor v Crosby & Ors [2014] IEHC 59). Hogan J. stated that the entitlement of Mr. Crosby to receive payments from the Council for his role as a councillor is by way of emoluments arising from this position and is therefore a statutory entitlement (i.e. a right existing at law) and not an equitable entitlement.

Hogan J. also noted the extra administrative burden that such an appointment would have on Roscommon County Council as it would require it to make special arrangements each month to make payments directly to the receiver. It was further noted that this course of action should be limited to a final remedy for enforcement and in these circumstances Hogan J. believed that an application for an Instalment Order would have been much more straightforward.

In conclusion the Judge, while sympathetic to the plight of “innocent judgment creditors,” felt obliged by the virtue of established case-law to allow the appeal and stand down the receiver.