20 05 2021 Insights Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Don’t Delay - Third Party Joinders & Set Aside Motions

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1621519466751 Four Courts4


Order 16 of the Superior Courts Rules requires a party wishing to serve a Third-Party Notice to obtain leave from the High Court. Section 27(1)(b) of the Civil Liability Act 1961 stipulates that when seeking leave to serve a Third-Party Notice, a party ‘must do so as soon as is reasonably possible’. Uncertainty often arises in relation to the interpretation of the phrase ‘as soon as is reasonably possible’.

A recent Court of Appeal decision of Judge Barrett in Andre O’Connor v Coras Pipeline Services Limited[1] helpfully restated and summarised some of the key guiding principles in relation to both the joinder of Third Parties, and subsequent applications to set aside the joinder of Third Parties on the grounds of delay.

Case Details

Mr. O’Connor, an employee of Coras Pipeline Services Limited (“Coras”), was injured in a site accident on 7 January 2015. Coras had been retained by Northstone (NI) Ltd (“Northstone”). Mr. O’Connor issued personal injury proceedings against Coras, who in turn, made an application to join Northstone as a Third Party to the proceedings. Northstone subsequently made an application to have the Third Party proceedings set-aside. Below is a chronology of the key dates.



Date of Accident

7 January 2015

Personal Injuries Summons Served

8 November 2016

Notice for Particulars

21 November 2016

Replies to Particulars

16 March 2017


18 May 2017

Motion to Join Third Party Issued

13 November 2017

Leave to Join Third Party Granted

15 January 2018

Defendant files and serves Third Party Notice

15 February 2018

Third Party Issues Set Aside Application

7 September 2018