Court of Appeal cuts short oral hearing of Ammi Burke’s appeal

Written decision on appeal will be given later

The Court of Appeal has cut short a hearing of solicitor Ammi Burke’s appeal against the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and will base its decision on the parties’ written submissions.

The judges adopted this approach amid Ms Burke’s continued protestations over their earlier rejection of her application asking the president of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, to recuse himself from hearing her appeal.

She is appealing against the High Court’s rejection of her challenge to the WRC’s dismissal of her claim of unfair dismissal from law firm Arthur Cox. Her court case was thrown out mid-hearing last May due to what Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger described as her “blatant abuse of the court process”.

On Monday, Ms Burke contended, among other points, that Mr Justice Birmingham should not be on the bench hearing her appeal because her brother, Enoch Burke, is in prison and was denied his constitutional rights as a result of a March 2023 ruling by the judge.


She claimed a reasonable person would have a reasonable apprehension of bias and fear there would not be a fair trial from an impartial judge.

The judges considered her sworn statement supporting her application before they ruled it did not “remotely approach the threshold to require or justify a recusal”.

Ms Burke did not accept this decision, contending she should have been permitted to make oral submissions to the court as part of her application.

The judges briefly left the courtroom to allow her to “reflect” on whether she wished to proceed with the hearing of the appeal or for them to decide the case based purely on written documents from the parties.

When they returned, Ms Burke repeated that she had a recusal application.

Mr Justice Birmingham said: “You are making a show of yourself.” Ms Burke’s mother, Martina Burke, said: “You have blood on your hands ... You are a disgrace.”

Ammi Burke said she did not want her appeal to be decided by a panel that includes Mr Justice Birmingham.

The president and his colleagues, Ms Justice Caroline Costello and Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, then left the court. A written decision on Ms Burke’s appeal will be given at a later point.

Ms Burke’s WRC complaint alleging she was unfairly dismissed from Arthur Cox in late 2019 was dismissed due to persistent interruptions from the Burke family.

Arthur Cox denied she was unfairly dismissed.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter