In a comment on my post about 12 Irish English usages, Margaret suggested that I write about the Irish expression on foot of. It was a good idea: the phrase is not widely known outside Ireland and is therefore liable to cause confusion, if this exchange is any indication.
On foot of means ‘because of’, ‘as a result of’, or ‘on the basis of’. T.P. Dolan’s Dictionary of Hiberno-English offers the example sentences ‘On foot of this, we can’t go any further with this deal’ and ‘On foot of the charges, he had to appear in the court’.
These lines suggest it’s a formal phrase, and that’s invariably how I see it used; I’ve yet to hear it in everyday conversation. A search on Google News shows that it’s common in crime reporting in Ireland. I also see it in academic and business prose, an impression confirmed by the example sentences in Oxford Dictionaries, e.g.:
Further decisions could be taken on foot of that, he said.
It was on foot of one of these monthly reviews that the decision to close the nursery was taken in August.
A spokesperson for the site said they were very disappointed that on foot of legal advice they had to shut the service down.
By contrast, a search for on foot of on the TheGuardian.com returns just 146 hits, many of them false positives (‘a journey on foot of 26 miles’) or quoting Irish sources.
The OED labels the usage Irish English and stresses its jurisprudential use, defining it as: ‘consequent and in conformance to (a legal judgment, decision, etc.); on the basis of’. It dates it to 1818 and says the phrase derives from foot in the sense footing, as in on an equal footing.
On foot of all that, I need say no more about it.