Litigating Golfers – Review of long-established principle that a member cannot sue a club

Ms. Justice Niamh Hyland delivered a very interesting Judgment which received a significant amount of publicity in the last week. The Judgment related to a Plaintiff who sustained a significant injury to his hand (with loss of left index finger) whilst assisting in a voluntary capacity with some building works taking place at Cobh Golf Club.

By way of background, the Plaintiff was a scratch golfer and had been a member at Cobh Golf Club since 2009.  It is well established in case law that a member of a club cannot sue their fellow members, however, Ms Justice Hyland held that the Plaintiff was not, in fact, a member at the time of the incident given that he had failed to pay his membership fees in full.

There was a lot of discussion around the case law and the implications of Club Membership for the Plaintiff given that a club has no separate legal identity from that of its members and as such a member suing the club (or the club’s trustees) was in law suing himself. Accordingly, the Constitution of the Club was examined in detail by the Court.  The Judge held that the wording of the Constitution was “crystal clear” and disregarded the fact that the Plaintiff had played in competitions for the Club after the 31st January (when membership would have been terminated for non-payment of fees) stating that “the Club was simply not applying its own rules of membership.”  Furthermore, the court also rejected the argument that the practice of the club was to treat the Plaintiff as a member and, therefore, he could not sue.

The Judge went on to find that the Defendants were vicariously liable for the accident and that the evidence established liability, awarding €100,000 in General Damages to the Plaintiff.

It remains to be seen whether an Appeal will be lodged in respect of the award for damages, however this Judgment certainly shines a light on the importance of Club Rules being followed to a “tee”.

A copy of the full Judgment can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

If you would like further information in relation to any of the above, please contact Ciara Lehane, Associate Solicitor by email to or call 021-7300200.

This article will be updated in the event of Appeal.

Deadline looming on Local Property Tax

The valuation date for all residential property for Local Property Tax (LPT) purposes was Monday, 1 November 2021 with the obligation on property owners to self-assess the value of their property and file a return by 7 November 2021. In order to file a Return, owners need to value their property, confirm the details of the property and ownership and indicate how they wish to pay the 2022 Charge.

The value that property owners place on their property will determine the amount of LPT payable for 2022, and for the three years from 2023 to 2025.

Some properties which have previously been exempt from LPT Charges to date – such as new homes or those in ‘ghost estates’ – will become subject to the charge from 2022.

A small number of exemptions still remain, to include the following:

  • property owned by persons who are not able to live in the property due to long term incapacity or infirmity;
  • properties purchased, adapted or built for incapacitated persons; and
  • properties damaged by pyrite (maximum of 6 year relief) or defective concrete blocks (such as MICA issues).

Valuation Bands have been revised since 2013 and Revenue have placed a guide valuation on each property which will need to be reviewed. Whilst most people will likely be guided by the options set out on Revenue’s property valuation guide at, where owners will be asked to enter the Eircode of their property. The interactive map, will then offer a price band for that address. There  are other options open to owners arriving at a valuation of their property to include:-

Whilst Revenue has not, to date, undertaken significant reviews of the self-assessment values placed on properties by their owners, it is anticipated this may change in the near future. If an owner wishes to dispute the valuation placed by Revenue on a particular property, the Land Values Reference Committee will be the authority who will now decide the issue.

Owners may choose to pay the LPT due in one annual payment (deducted on 21 March 2022) or in instalments. Payment options include direct debit, credit card or deduction at source. Cash payments can be made through An Post or by forwarding a cheque to the LPT Branch in Limerick. If an individual is eligible to defer payment, and wishes to do so, an interest rate of 3% will apply.

Property owners will need to be aware that if they choose not to submit a new Return, Revenue will collect an amount based on their estimated value of the property. However, the obligation on property owners to submit a Return remains and should an individual choose not to file a return or pay the tax due, they may have difficulty obtaining a tax clearance certificate or be subject to a fine up to €1,000.

If you have any queries on the above, please contact Niamh O’Connor ( or 021-7300200) of JW O’Donovan LLP, 53 South Mall, Cork.