Judge urges 'peace to break out' in dispute between brothers over business

Judge Urges 'Peace To Break Out' In Dispute Between Brothers Over Business
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High Court reporters

A High Court judge has urged two Dundalk-based brothers to allow "peace to break out" in a long-running dispute between them over their family businesses.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald made the plea when he agreed to enter into the fast track commercial list the latest dispute between Peter McCaughey and IJM Timber Engineering Ltd and his brother Martin and McCaughey Homes Ltd.  



Peter, and IJM, have brought the proceedings against Martin and McCaughey Homes Ltd arising out of the enforcement of a settlement agreement between them in January 2020.

That settlement arose out of other proceedings brought by Martin against Peter, IJM and, by order McCaughey Homes, in which Martin claimed the affairs of IJM were being carried on in a manner oppressive to him.  

Mr Justice McDonald later granted an order that the settlement agreement should be enforced on the basis that any payment claims which Peter McCaughey may previously have had under board resolutions had been settled and released by virtue of the provisions of the agreement.

However, Peter has since appealed that order and that is pending next month before the Court of Appeal (CoA). 



On Monday in the Commercial Court, Mr Justice McDonald was told Peter’s side were now seeking rectification/rescission of the agreement.

The application to have the matter entered into the commercial list was brought by Martin, on consent from Peter’s side.

Martin, in an affidavit, said Peter was clearly bringing these latest proceedings "by way of back-up" in the event that Peter's appeal is dismissed.  

Peter wants an order from the Commercial Court seeking rectification of the settlement agreement to reflect that it did not compromise his (Peter's) claims under board resolutions and under the directors' compensation package. Alternatively, he seeks rescission of the agreement.  


The new proceedings involve a claim arising from a situation in which under the settlement agreement IJM and McCaughey Homes were to be sold, Martin said.  


A valuation of €19.6 million was put on IJM by Peter's experts while Martin's expert put it at €39.7 million.  

Martin said while Peter does not appear anxious to progress his new proceedings with any great expedition, he (Martin) is very anxious they would progress in tandem with the pending appeal in the CoA. 

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If the appeal is dismissed, Peter will "no doubt seek a further stay" on the implementation of the settlement which will lead to a further significant delay in him (Martin) obtaining value from that settlement, Martin said.  

It is more than two years since the settlement which provided that both IJM and McCaughey Homes should be put up for sale at market value as soon as possible, he said.  

Mr Justice McDonald, who admitted the matter to the commercial list and adjourned it, said it was "deeply depressing" to see this "intractable dispute between two brothers".  

Although he had said it before, he sincerely wished that "peace will break out".  

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