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FAC Decisions

Up to the 7th October 2020, the legislation governing the FAC provided three decision options when deciding an appeal.  The options available were to confirm, cancel or vary a decision.  Following the introduction of the Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2020 the FAC were provided with several options and the FAC is bound to decide each valid appeal within the parameters of the Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2020.  In that regard the FAC can do the following:

(a)  Affirm the decision.   If the appeal decision is to affirm, the DAFM decision to grant the licence is confirmed and the licence as granted is reinstated. In the case of affirmation the FAC will not be satisfied that a significant or serious error, or series of errors was made in the making of the decision by the Minister to grant the licence, or that the decision was not made in accordance with fair procedures.

 or

(b)  where the FAC is satisfied that a serious or significant error or a series of errors was made in making the decision the subject of the appeal or that the decision was made without complying with fair procedure, the FAC may decide to: -

(i)   vary the decision;

(ii)  allow the appeal and set aside the decision;

(iii) set aside the decision and remit it, for stated reasons, or

(iv) where the Committee considers it appropriate to do so, by reference to submissions, documents, or evidence before it, which were not considered by the Minister or for other good reason, substitute its decision for the decision of the Minister.

If the appeal decision is to vary the licence decision made by the Minister, the licence decision which is the subject of the appeal is varied as detailed in the FAC decision letter.  This may include the removal or addition of condition(s) to the licence decision originally granted by the Minister, which was subject to appeal.

If the appeal decision is to set aside, the decision to issue the licence falls and no operations can be carried out on foot of it as the licence (or licence in abeyance) no longer exists.

If the FAC appeal decision is to set aside and remit, there is a requirement on the Minister to reconsider the matter and to make a new decision as to whether to grant a licence or not.  The FAC decision letter should state the point of the process to which the matter is remitted and matters which should be further considered by the Minister before making a new decision. The Minister, in making a new decision may grant a new licence or may refuse to grant a licence.

The option for the FAC to substitute its decision for the decision of the Minister is available to the FAC where it is considered appropriate, by reference to submissions, documents or evidence before the FAC which were not before the Minister at the time of the Minister making his/her decision, or for other good reason. 

In the case of set aside, set aside and remit, vary or substituting its decision for the decision of the Minister, the FAC will have identified a significant or serious error or series of errors in the making of the decision by the Minister, or may consider that fair procedures were not applied in the making of the decision.  This will be stated in the FAC decision letter.

Once a decision is reached, all parties are notified, and decisions are published on the FAC’s website.  All decisions since 2020 are available here:

FAC Decisions

A decision of the Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC) on an appeal is final and conclusive. Once a decision is reached the FAC has no further power to review the decision.  In that regard the Committee are not in a position to comment further or elaborate beyond the decision and has no further role in law in respect of a determined case and, therefore, cannot offer any further advice in relation to the matter.

The decisions of public bodies, including the Forestry Appeals Committee, can be brought to the High Court for Judicial Review or challenged on a point of law. Procedure governing Judicial Review can be found in Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts.

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