Choice of Courts in Ireland
It is important to choose the correct court – you can now be severely penalised by costs if you go to the wrong courts and fail to reach it’s lower level of compensation. This could wipe out your compensation and even leave you in debt. That is why it is important not to exaggerate your losses or injuries. Always be honest and forthcoming with descriptions of your injuries and losses so as to avoid taking the case into the wrong jurisdiction.
Republic of Ireland
The courts system in Ireland has its historic origins in the British Courts System that was in use in Ireland up to 1922. The 1922 Constitution was enacted on the foundation of the Irish Free State. That Constitution provided for the setting up of new courts to replace the existing Courts that had evolved under the British administration. The Courts of Justice Act, 1924 established the legal basis for a new Court system.
Ireland has a written Constitution and Articles 34 to 37 of the Constitution deal with the administration of justice in general. Article 34.1 states that ‘Justice shall be administered in Courts established by law’ .
The Constitution and its amendments outlines the structure of the court system as comprising:
- A court of final appeal, known as the Supreme Court,
- A Court of Appeal to hear appeals from the High Court and the Circuit Court.
- Courts of first instance which include the High Court with full jurisdiction in all criminal and civil matters and
- Courts of limited jurisdiction including
- the Circuit Court and the
- District Court organised on a regional basis.
The present courts were set up by the Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act 1961 pursuant to Article 34 of the Constitution adopted by the Irish people in 1937. We are concerned mainly with the courts as they are relevant to personal injury and property litigation and we have focused on this area in the linked pages attached. The Courts Act 2004 contains much that is relevant to the day to day handling of Personal Injury Claims within the Courts System.
Cases which go to the District Court should normally be completed within 9 months of issuing a Summons. The maximum you can get in that Court is €15,000.
Cases which go to the Circuit Court should normally be completed within two years of issuing a Summons.
The most you can get in the Circuit Court, normally, is €75,000 (€60,000 for personal injuries).
Cases that are issued for the High Court usually take two years from issue of Summons to be reached. There is no upper limit on compensation in the High Court but its lower limit is €75,000.
Prior to the partition of Ireland, Northern Ireland was part of the courts system of Ireland. Northern Ireland continues to have a separate legal system to the rest of the United Kingdom. There are exceptions to that rule, such as in immigration and military law, for which there is a unified judicial system for the whole United Kingdom.
Cases which go to the District Court should normally be completed within 9 months of issuing a Civil Bill. The maximum you can get in that Court is £5,000.
Cases which go to the County Court should normally be completed within two years of issuing a Civil Bill.
The most you can get in the County Court, normally, is £15,000, and its lower limits of jurisdiction is £5,000.
Cases that are issued for the High Court usually take two years from issue of Writ of Summons. There is no upper limit on compensation in the High Court but its lower limit is £15,000
If you would like an assessment of a claim, you can use the online form available here without obligation or alternatively you can use the automatic claim calculator.