Amendment to Order 84 RSC - Abolition of "Stop the Clock" Applications | Fieldfisher
Skip to main content

Amendment to Order 84 RSC - Abolition of "Stop the Clock" Applications



Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts ("RSC")

Judicial Review proceedings are governed by strict time limits. Order 84, Rule 21 (1) of the RSC states that 'an application for leave to apply for judicial review shall be made within three months from the date when grounds for the application first arose'.

It had previously been held by the Courts that it is only when the ex-parte application seeking leave to proceed by way of judicial review is first opened to the Court, that time stops running.[1]

S.I. No. 163/2024

On 26 of April 2024, a significant amendment to Order 84 of the RSC came into effect with the enactment of S.I. No. 163/2024. This amendment transforms the process of judicial review proceedings by eliminating the requirement to apply to a Judge of the High Court to 'stop the clock'. Instead, time is now automatically deemed to have stopped upon filing the notice of motion/grounding affidavit in the central office of the High Court, or in cases of urgency, the Court.

Strict Time Limits

There are some pieces of legislation that prescribe even stricter time limits than those specified in Order 84 of the RSC.  We have set out some examples below:  

  • Sections 50 and 50A of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) sets out the time limit for instituting a judicial review in respect of a decision under the Planning and Development Act is 8 weeks from the date of the decision or the doing of an act by a planning authority of the Board.
  • Section 87 (10) of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (as amended) provides for judicial review, or other legal proceedings, to be initiated by any person, seeking to question the validity of a decision of the Agency to grant or refuse a licence or a revised licence, within a period of 8 weeks.
  • Section 5(2) of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000 sets out the time limit for an application for leave to apply for judicial review is 14 days commencing on the date on which the person was notified of the decision, determination, recommendation, refusal or making of the Order unless the High Court considers that there is good and sufficient reason for extending the period within which the application shall be made.

Time limits for judicial review applications are strictly enforced by the Court, however applicants may bring an application for an extension of time if they are outside the time limit. To obtain an extension, the applicant will need to demonstrate that:

a. there is “good and sufficient reason” for giving the extension; and

b. that the reason(s) for the applicant missing the deadline:

  1. were outside of their control; or
  2. could not reasonably have been anticipated by them.

In considering whether to extend the deadline, the factors which the Court are likely to have regard to include the following (which is a non-exhaustive list):

  • The time limit for applying for “leave”;
  • Whether the decision-maker or any third party would be affected by an extension being given;
  • Whether the applicant’s delay has caused or is likely to cause prejudice to the decision-maker or any third party;
  • The applicant’s personal responsibility for the delay;
  • The importance of the Judicial Review application for the applicant; and
  •  Whether the applicant otherwise has an arguable case for Judicial Review.

Effect of the Amendment

The enactment of S.I. No. 163/2024 marks a huge milestone in the progression of judicial review proceedings in Ireland. By eliminating the need for a separate application to 'stop the clock', the amendment enhances efficiency, reduces administrative burdens, and fosters a more accessible legal framework.

 S.I. No. 163/2024 - Rules of the Superior Courts (Order 84) 2024 (

Written by: Noreen McGovern, Sinéad Taaffe and Whitney Lijoka

[1] Reilly v. DPP [2016] 3 IR 229

Areas of Expertise

Public and Regulatory