A notice of appeal/application names the original parties to the appeal/application.  People who are not original parties to an action in the Court may, under certain circumstances, apply to be joined as a party.  Most commonly, applications to be joined (or ‘for joinder’) are made by people who have made a representation to the relevant authority in relation to the proposed development which is the subject of the appeal.  When the development has been processed as a Restricted Development (s 110 Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act, 2016), those persons who made formal representations will be notified of any appeal by the Court and advised of the process to apply to join the appeal.

A person (“the joinder applicant”) can apply to join an appeal by completing a Form 77I “Interlocutory Application to be Joined. The joinder applicant must attend the application hearing at the date and time as set out in the Court notice.

A development applicant will be advised where an interested person files an application to review the procedures adopted by the relevant authority in respect of their application.


The application form a ‘Form 77I Application to be joined’ can be found at ERD Rules & Forms.

The application form must be returned to the Court as soon as possible.


Generally, the application to be joined will be heard immediately before the initial conference starts.  It is, however, possible to make an application to be joined at a later stage in the appeal proceedings, in which case arrangements will be made for the application to be heard at a convenient time.  If the person applying to be joined does not attend the application to join, it is likely to be dismissed or ‘struck out’.

The application will be heard in a Court room and Court protocols will be observed.

The Court will decide who may or may not be joined as a party.  A person will never be joined as a matter of course.  Important factors that the Court may take into account include:

  • the nature and strength of the person’s interest in the outcome of the appeal e.g. the potential of the proposed development to affect the person’s interests
  • the contribution the person is likely to make to the resolution of the dispute
  • whether the person‘s interests are already being adequately dealt with by one of the existing parties
  • the nature of the issues the person intends to raise
  • the potential for the person‘s involvement to prolong the appeal
  • the interests of the existing parties
  • the public interest
  • other issues relevant to the particular case

The Court may ask the joinder applicant to explain why they should be allowed to be joined – particularly in light of the above considerations.  The existing parties will be asked whether they oppose the application and will be given the opportunity to make submissions.  The joinder applicant must therefore be ready to argue why they should be allowed to be joined as a party.

The Judge or Commissioner will also explain what it means to be joined as a party.  Once a person is joined as a party they become a full party to the appeal.  That means they will be expected:

  • to attend and participate in the conference (potentially the conference may resume on more than one occasion) and
  • to attend and participate at every other part of the appeal (for example, at the hearing if the matter gets that far).

A party who is joined may also find that the dispute eventually goes beyond the ERD Court to the Supreme Court.  A person who is joined to an action will also be a party to an action commenced in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal. Unlike the ERD Court, these Courts often award costs and this should be taken into consideration. Costs would apply to all parties – including parties who have been joined.

Just like other parties to an appeal, a person applying to be joined as a party is entitled to a have a lawyer or representative speak on their behalf, but may also choose to represent themselves.

There are other ways of becoming involved in an appeal without joining as a party.  An interested person may approach one of the parties and offer to give evidence on their behalf.  That enables them to be heard by the Court without taking on the responsibility of becoming a party to the appeal.

The Court may canvass these and other options during the hearing of the application.

After the Court has ruled on the application, all the parties (including any newly joined party) will then leave the Court and (likely) move to a conference room to start the conference. In some cases a conference time will be advised.