Personal Injuries Proceedings in the District Court

 

personal injuries district court

The relevant rules about bringing personal injuries proceedings in the District Court are contained in:

Venue

A personal injuries summons must be filed with and issued by the Clerk assigned to the Court area in which the respondent or one of the respondents ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation.

Form and Content of Personal Injuries Summons

The form to use is Form No. 40A.01, Schedule C.

The summons must contain

  • The claimant’s name
  • PPS number
  • Respondent’s name
  • Full and detailed particulars of the claim and each allegation and the injuries caused by the wrongdoing of the respondent
  • Each instance of negligence of the respondent.

Personal Injuries Defence

A personal injuries appearance and defence must be delivered to the claimant or his solicitor within 28 days of being served with the PI Summons in form 40A.02. The Appearance must be filed with the District Court clerk.

Affidavit of Verification

An affidavit of verification, in the form 40A.04, must be sworn in respect of all pleadings.

Notice of Motions and Adjournment to Allow Mediation

Certain applications can be brought, for example to extend the time for serving of a pleading or judgement in default or for a pre-trial hearing, by Notice of Motion; the Court can also order an adjournment to facilitate mediation between the parties.

Setting Down for Trial

When an Appearance and Defence have been served and filed, the Claimant can serve notice of trial by using form 49.01, schedule C.

The Notice of Trial must be filed with the District Court clerk after service.

The party serving notice of trial must also file with the District Court clerk a set of copies of the pleadings, affidavits, and correspondence to be relied upon in the case.

Clicking the links above will bring you to the relevant Order (40A) and forms (schedule C).

Service of Documents in Civil Proceedings in the District Court

service of documents

The service of your documents in the correct way is an important part of a successful outcome to your legal proceedings.

Service on a person

There are two ways of serving documents on a person: registered post or personal service.

A document in civil proceedings may be served by sending a copy of the document by registered prepaid post in an envelope addressed to the person to be served at his or her last known residence or place of business in the State.

Personal service of a document must be served:

(a) by delivering a copy of the document to the person to be served, or

(b) where it appears by evidence that the person to be served is personally within the jurisdiction and that due and reasonable diligence has been exercised in endeavouring to effect personal service on him or her, by leaving a copy of the document for the person to be served at his or her last or most usual place of residence, or at his or her office, shop, factory, home or place of business with:
(i) the husband or wife of the person to be served; or

(ii) the civil partner of the person to be served; or

(iii) a child or other relative of the person to be served, who apparently resides with the person to be served; or

(iv) a child or other relative of the husband, wife or civil partner of the person to be served, who apparently resides with the person to be served; or

(v) any agent or employee of the person to be served; or

(vi) the person in charge of the house or premises where the person to be served usually resides,

provided that the person with whom the copy is left:

(I) is not under the age of 16 years, and

(II) is not himself or herself the person beginning the civil proceedings.

Service on a company

A document may be served on a company by leaving a copy of the document at or sending a copy of the document by post to the registered office of the company or, if the company has not given notice to the Registrar of Companies of the situation of its registered office, by registering the document at the office of the Registrar of Companies.

Service on a local authority or an unincorporated body

A document may be served on a local authority, statutory board or body, or an unincorporated society or club by leaving a copy of the document with any employee of the authority, board, body, society or club at its principal office or by sending a copy of the document by prepaid registered post to its principal office.

 Service on a partnership

Where persons are sued as partners in the name of their firm, a copy of the document must be served either:

(a) on any one or more of the partners; or

(b) at the principal place within the State at which the business of the partnership is carried on, on any person having at the time of service the control or management of the partnership business there;

and such service must be deemed good service on the firm sued, whether any of the members of the partnership are outside the State or not.

Acceptance of service

Service of a document must be deemed good service if the Court is satisfied that a solicitor acting on behalf of the person to be served has accepted service of the document.

Substituted service

Where the Court is satisfied that, for good cause shown, service of a document cannot be effected in a manner or in any manner prescribed by these Rules, the Court may make an order:

(a) for substituted or other service; or

(b) for the substitution for service of notice by advertisement or otherwise.

An application for an order for substituted or other service may be made ex parte.

Where the Court is satisfied that any particular mode of service prescribed is at any time not then available, the Court may by order in writing direct that the service of documents or of any particular class of documents be effected in such other manner as it thinks proper.

Service deemed good

  1. The Court may, if it considers it just to do so, deem the service of any document actually effected in any civil proceedings to be good and effected service, even though the service was not effected in a manner prescribed by these Rules.

Proof of service

A person who serves a document may prove the service:

(a) by evidence given orally before the Court; or

(b) by statutory declaration as to service made in accordance with the Statutory Declarations Act 1938.

A statutory declaration as to service must be in the Form 41.01, 41.02 or 41.03, Schedule C, as the case may be.

When service of a document on a person has been effected by registered prepaid post, a statutory declaration of service, which must be in the Form 41.01, Schedule C must be made not earlier than ten days after the day on which the envelope containing the copy of the document for service was posted.

A statutory declaration of service by registered post must:

(a) be made by the person who posted the envelope; and

(b) exhibit the certificate of posting; and

(c) state, where appropriate, that the original document was duly stamped at the time of posting, and

(d) state that the envelope has not been returned undelivered to the sender.

Where a statutory declaration is made as to service, and filed with the Clerk:

(a) the statutory declaration is prima facie evidence of the mode, time and place of service as set out in the statutory declaration; and

(b) it is not necessary for the person who effected service to attend in person at the Court to prove service on oral evidence,

but the Court may, if it considers it necessary, require the person who effected service to attend before it and give evidence concerning the service notwithstanding the making of a statutory declaration.

Deemed time of service

  1. Where service of a document is effected by registered prepaid post or by ordinary prepaid post, the document must be deemed to be served on the person to whom it was directed at the time at which the envelope containing the copy of the document for service would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.

Time for service before hearing

Save where otherwise provided by another enactment or by these Rules, a document which must be served before a hearing in the Court must be served at least seven days or, in the case of service by registered prepaid post, at least 21 days, before the date fixed for the hearing concerned.

Time for filing before hearing

Subject to any order or direction of the Court, a document which must be filed with the Clerk before a hearing in the Court, including any statutory declaration of service, must be filed at least four days or, in the case of filing by prepaid post, at least seven days, before the date fixed for the hearing concerned.

Service under Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004

The delivery or service of any notice for the purposes of section 8 or section 17 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 must be in the manner prescribed in section 4 of that Act.

Debt Claims in the District Court-How to Obtain Judgment in Default

judgment in default district court

Do you need to pursue a debt in the District Court?

Are you being pursued for a debt?

Confused about what’s involved in obtaining a judgment where the debtor just ignores the Claim Notice and does not enter an Appearance or Defence?

Let’s take a look at what happens then.

If a respondent who has been served with a claim notice in a debt claim does not serve and file an appearance or serve a defence within the time prescribed by Order 42, or within any other time fixed by the Court for serving and filing his or her appearance or for serving his or her defence, you may apply for an order of judgment in default. (The time prescribed by Order 42 is 28 days).

You must file your application with the Clerk and it must be accompanied—

(i) by an affidavit or statutory declaration (Form 41.01, 41.02 or 41.03, Schedule C, as appropriate) of service of the claim notice; and

(ii) by a certificate (Form 47.01, Schedule C), which may be endorsed on the affidavit of debt signed by the claimant’s solicitor or by the claimant (if acting in person) that no appearance, notice requiring particulars or defence has been received from the respondent; and

(iii) by an affidavit of debt verifying the claimant’s claim (Form 47.02 or 47.03, Schedule C, as appropriate); and

(iv) by a form of judgment (decree) (Form 47.04 or 47.05, Schedule C, as appropriate).

Where a respondent has signed a consent to judgment which has been duly witnessed, the applicant may file an affidavit (Form 47.06, Schedule C) verifying the consent instead of an affidavit of debt; and where the consent is to judgment by instalments, the form of judgment (decree) in Form 47.07, Schedule C must be used.

Your affidavit verifying your claim must be sworn (or the certificate referred to above must be given) within one month before the date of the application for judgment. Judgment may not be given where the affidavit verifying the claimant’s claim was not sworn (or the certificate was not given) within one month before the date of the application for judgment.

Where your application for judgment includes a claim in respect of value-added tax, the affidavit (or certificate) must verify whether or not value-added tax is payable by the claimant on his or her legal costs, and if payable whether or not the sum payable is recoverable by the claimant from the Revenue Commissioners.

If you apply for a Judgment as set out above, and a Judge is satisfied that an order should be made, the Judge may make such an order otherwise than at a sitting of the Court, and may fix the amount of costs and interest as is appropriate in the circumstances in accordance with the Schedule of Costs.

If a Judge is not satisfied that an order should be made, the Judge may, or if the claimant so requests, the Judge must, refer the matter to the Court for decision.

If the Judge refers an application to the Court or an application is assigned a return date, the Court may on hearing the application, and any evidence the Court considers appropriate—

(a) make the order sought in the application;

(b) direct that a further affidavit or affidavits be filed;

(c) give directions as to the application;

(d) refuse to make the order sought in the application;

(e) make any other order it considers appropriate.

(6) The Clerk must notify the claimant of any order made by the Judge or (if the application has been referred to the Court) any decision or order of the Court.

Even if you obtain an order for judgment in default against a respondent as set out above you may enforce the order and continue the proceeding against any other respondent. In the event that the claimant recovers by enforcement or otherwise the full amount of his claim including costs against any respondent, further proceedings against any remaining respondent must be stayed save in respect of any further costs as may be claimed against any other respondent.

If a respondent serves a counterclaim which is a debt claim, what’s set out above applies as if—

(a) the respondent were the claimant;

(b) a reference to the appearance in that rule were a reference to the appearance to the counterclaim; and

(c) the claimant were the respondent.

Setting aside judgment by default

A party against whom a judgment in default has been obtained under may apply by notice of motion (Form 44.02 Schedule C with the necessary modifications) to the Court  in which the judgment was obtained for an order to vary or set aside the judgment on the ground that the same was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation, surprise, mistake or other sufficient ground.

Service of the notice of motion does not operate as a stay of proceedings unless the respondent lodges with the Clerk the amount for which judgment was given and the amount fixed for costs.

If a party fails to comply with an order made by the Court in civil proceedings, the Court may, where it considers it just to do so, dismiss the civil proceedings or strike out any defence or counterclaim and proceed to give judgment or make any order (including any order for costs) as is then appropriate as if the party in default had not pleaded.

You might also want to read also about how to commence proceedings in the District Court.

Judgment in Default in Non Debt Claims

Order 47A of the District Court rules sets out how to obtain judgment in default in non debt claims.

How to Begin Civil Proceedings in the District Court

district-court-legal-proceedings

The District Court now has a jurisdictional limit of €15,000.

So, if you need to pursue a debt or a claim for damages for breach of contract, negligence, or on any ground for less than €15,000 you will commence proceedings in the District Court.

To do this, you file, for issue and service, a claim notice in the District Court.

What Must You Put in the Claim Notice?

A claim notice must—

(a) state the full name and address of the claimant and an address for service of documents on the claimant; and

(b) if the claimant sues in person, state an address for service of documents on the claimant; and

(c) if the claimant sues or the respondent is sued in a representative capacity, state the capacity in which the claimant sues or the respondent is sued in a representative capacity; and

(d) state the name and address of the respondent; and

(e) if the claimant sues by a solicitor, state the name or firm and business address of the solicitor and also, if the solicitor is the agent of another, the name or firm and business address of the principal.

A claim notice must contain a statement of claim which must—

(a) contain, in a summary form, a statement of all material facts on which the claimant relies, but not evidence by which those facts are to be proved;

(b) contain the necessary particulars of every fact;

(c) if the claim arises by or under any enactment, identify the specific provision of the enactment that is relied on;

(d) state specifically the amount or other relief or remedy sought; (e) state the place where and the date when the claim arose.

A statement of claim in a debt claim must state that the claim is for debt or liquidated damages, must specify the amount claimed by way of debt or liquidated damages and must include particulars of the claimant’s demand for payment.

Where the claim is founded on any written document, the statement of claim must state the date of the document and the parties to the document and:

(a) if the claim is for the payment of money, the amount claimed, or

(b) if the claim is for breach of contract, the alleged breach or breaches of the contract.

A statement of claim must contain a list of all correspondence and other documents on which the claimant will rely at the trial including the date if any and a brief description of each document.

In a debt claim, the claim notice must be indorsed with a statement as follows—

“If you pay the amount of €…… and costs of €……. to the claimant or the claimant’s solicitor within ten days and without filing and serving an appearance and defence you may avoid further costs.”.

If a claim notice is indorsed  as set out in the preceding paragraph, and the respondent pays the amounts claimed within the time limited for filing and serving an appearance and defence, then the civil proceeding is concluded.

Any claim by a consumer for damages under section 74 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (No. 19 of 2007) must be commenced by the issue and service in accordance with this Order of a claim notice, entitled in the matter of section 74 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 and otherwise in the Form 40.01, Schedule C with such modifications as are appropriate.

 

Where Do You Commence Proceedings?

A claim notice must be filed with and issued by the Clerk for the Court area:

(a) in which the respondent or one of the respondents ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation,

or at the election of the claimant,

(b) in proceedings founded on contract, (except proceedings arising from an agreement under the Consumer Credit Act 1995 or the European Communities (Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 281 of 2010)) in which the contract is alleged to have been made, or

(c) in proceedings founded on tort, in which the tort is alleged to have been committed, or

(d) in ejectment proceedings, in which the lands the subject of the proceedings are situated.

Unless the Claim Notice is to be served outside the State a claim notice must be in Form 40.01, Schedule C, or in Form 40.02, Schedule C in a debt claim.

Appearance and defence

A respondent who intends to defend civil proceedings must give, or send by post, to the claimant or solicitor for the claimant an appearance and defence, in the Form 42.01, Schedule C, not later than 28 days after the service on him or her of the claim notice, and must at the same time file a copy of his or her appearance with the Clerk.

A defence must—

(a) contain a statement that the respondent intends to defend the claim notice; and

(b) state the name and address of the respondent and an address for service in the European Union at which documents required to be served on the respondent may be left; and

(c) if the respondent defends by a solicitor, state the name or firm and business address within the European Union of the solicitor and also, if the solicitor is an agent of another, the name or firm and business address of the principal.

Appearance and defence to debt claim

An appearance and defence in a debt claim must be in Form 42.03, Schedule C. A respondent who intends to defend a debt claim must give, or send by post, to the claimant or solicitor for the claimant his or her appearance and defence not later than 28 days after the service on him or her of the claim notice, and must at the same time file a copy of his or her appearance with the Clerk.

A defence in a debt claim must state whether the claim is:

(a) disputed as to both liability and amount;

(b) disputed only as to amount and if so, what amount is admitted to be due;

(c) admitted in full and if so, whether the respondent proposes to pay immediately or requires time for payment.

Appearance and defence in claims other than debt claims

Unless the respondent requires further particulars of statement of claim, a respondent to a claim other than a debt claim who contests or disputes all or part of a claimant’s claim must serve an appearance and defence in Form 42.01, Schedule C on the claimant at the address for service stated in the claim notice and must file a copy of the appearance with the Clerk.

A defence must state which of the facts stated in statement of claim are—

(a) admitted;

(b) denied;

(c) not admitted.

A respondent who, in the defence, does not state whether a fact stated in statement of claim is—

(a) admitted;

(b) denied;

(c) not admitted—

must be taken to admit the fact.

A respondent who states that a fact stated in statement of claim is denied must—

(a) give reasons for denying the fact; and

(b) if the respondent intends to prove a fact different from that stated in the statement of claim, state, with necessary particulars, the fact that the respondent intends to prove.

The respondent must state specifically, with particulars, any fact or matter which—

(a) makes the claim of the claimant not maintainable; or

(b) if not stated specifically, might take the claimant by surprise; or

(c) raises questions of fact not arising out of the statement of claim. (6) If the defence arises by or under any enactment, the defence must identify the specific provision relied on.

A defence must contain a list of all correspondence and other documents (other than any documents already identified in the statement of claim) on which the respondent will rely at the trial including the date if any and a brief description of each document.

The respondent may not rely on the defence of tender unless, within seven days after filing an appearance and defence, the respondent pays to the Clerk the amount alleged to have been tendered.

A respondent who has entered an appearance and defence in a debt claim which complies with the requirements of the rule above is not required to serve and file a defence which complies with the requirements of this rule unless an order has been made in the application for judgment on affidavit refusing judgment and giving permission to defend, in which case, the respondent must serve and file a defence which complies with the requirements of this rule within 21 days after the order is made.

Late filing and service of appearance and defence

A respondent may serve an appearance and defence and file an appearance at any time after the service of a claim notice with the written consent of the claimant, but an appearance and defence may not be served, except by permission of the Court, if the claimant has obtained judgment in default of appearance.

NOTICE REQUIRING COPY DOCUMENTS OR FURTHER PARTICULARS

This does not apply to debt claims.

A respondent may at any time before or at the time of delivery of a defence apply to the claimant in writing:

(a) for copies of all or any of the documents listed in the statement of claim on which the claimant relies or referred to in the statement of claim (Form 42.06, Schedule C);

(b) requiring the claimant to provide further particulars which the respondent asserts are reasonably necessary as to specified matters in the statement of claim (Form 42.07, Schedule C).

A claimant may within 28 days after delivery of a defence apply to the respondent in writing:

(a) for copies of all or any of the documents listed in the defence on which the respondent relies or referred to in the defence (Form 42.06, Schedule C);

(b) requiring the respondent to provide further particulars which the claimant asserts are reasonably necessary (Form 42.07, Schedule C).

COUNTERCLAIM

A respondent may set off or set up any right or claim the respondent alleges he or she has against the claimant as a counterclaim against the claim of the claimant, whether the respondent’s claim is a claim in damages or not.

A set off or counterclaim has the same effect as a cross action, so as to enable the Court to determine both the claim and the counterclaim at the same trial.

A counterclaim must be in Form 42.08, Schedule C.

STAY OR DISMISSAL OF CLAIM AND STRIKING OUT STATEMENT OF CLAIM OR DEFENCE

The Court may at any stage of the civil proceedings order to be struck out or amended any matter in any pleading which is unnecessary or scandalous, or which may tend to prejudice, embarrass, or delay the fair trial of the civil proceedings.

The Court may order any pleading to be struck out, on the ground that it discloses no reasonable cause of action or answer and in any such case or in case of the claim or defence being shown by the pleadings to be frivolous or vexatious, the Court may order the claim to be stayed or dismissed, or judgement to be entered accordingly, as the Court considers just.

What to Do Now

Sometimes, especially in debt collection matters, a solicitor’s letter to a debtor may have the desired effect and eliminate the need to bring proceedings in Court.

If you need a solicitor to handle things for you contact us.

A Minimalist Guide to Civil Proceedings in the District Court

district court proceedings

Are you looking to collect a debt with a value of less than €15,000?

Then you need to commence legal proceedings in the District Court.

Civil proceedings in the District Court, or any Court, can appear confusing to the ordinary person.  The District Court is the Court most people are likely to find themselves in if they are in dispute with someone else.

It might be a debt collection issue, it might be a dispute with neighbours, a personal injuries claim, etc.

It has a jurisdiction up to hear claims up to €15,000.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved.

Commencing civil proceedings

Generally, a civil proceeding must be commenced by the filing for issue and service of a claim notice.

Where are proceedings commenced?

A claim notice must be filed with and issued by the Clerk for the Court area:

(a) in which the respondent or one of the respondents ordinarily resides or carries on any profession, business or occupation,

or at the election of the claimant,

(b) in proceedings founded on contract, (except proceedings arising from an agreement under the Consumer Credit Act 1995 or the European Communities (Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 281 of 2010)) in which the contract is alleged to have been made, or

(c) in proceedings founded on tort, in which the tort is alleged to have been committed, or

(d) in ejectment proceedings, in which the lands the subject of the proceedings are situated.

Filing must be effected by filing with the Clerk assigned to the Court area in person or by post.

Generally, a claim notice must be in Form 40.01, Schedule C, or in Form 40.02, Schedule C in a debt claim.

Claim notice

A claim notice must contain a statement of claim.

A statement of claim must—

(a) contain, in a summary form, a statement of all material facts on which the claimant relies, but not evidence by which those facts are to be proved;

(b) contain the necessary particulars of every fact;

(c) if the claim arises by or under any enactment, identify the specific provision of the enactment that is relied on;

(d) state specifically the amount or other relief or remedy sought;

(e) state the place where and the date when the claim arose.

A statement of claim in a debt claim must state that the claim is for debt or liquidated damages, must specify the amount claimed by way of debt or liquidated damages and must include particulars of the claimant’s demand for payment.

A statement of claim must be divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively, and each fact or matter stated, so far as practicable, must be contained in a separate paragraph.

Where the claim is founded on any written document, the statement of claim must state the date of the document and the parties to the document and:

(a) if the claim is for the payment of money, the amount claimed, or

(b) if the claim is for breach of contract, the alleged breach or breaches of the contract.

A statement of claim must contain a list of all correspondence and other documents on which the claimant will rely at the trial including the date if any and a brief description of each document.

Any claim notice in which damages are claimed is assumed to include a claim for interest from the date of judgment, where permitted by law, and for the costs of the civil proceedings, whether or not expressly claimed.

Where a claimant alleges that he or she was unable, at the time at which a claim notice was issued, to include in the claim notice any of the information required by this rule to be specified in the claim notice, he or she must include in the claim notice a statement of the reasons why it is claimed that any such information could not be provided at the time of issue of the claim notice. The claimant must, when the claim notice is served or as soon as may be thereafter (whether by amendment or otherwise) provide such of the information required by this rule as was not included in the claim notice.

A claim notice is valid for service for one year after the day it is filed.

See also Order: 40 of the District Court Rules and statutory instrument 17 of 2014.

Learn more about the claim notice and what to put in it here.

Service of documents

Order 41 deals with service of documents in civil proceedings in the District Court.

This deals with the various modes of service, service on different parties-eg a child, an individual, a partnership, a company-and substituted service, proof of service, and so on.

Order 42 deals with Appearance, Defence, Particulars and Counterclaim.

Appearance and defence

A respondent who intends to defend civil proceedings must give, or send by post, to the claimant or solicitor for the claimant an appearance and defence, in the Form 42.01, Schedule C, not later than 28 days after the service on him or her of the claim notice, and must at the same time file a copy of his or her appearance with the Clerk.

A defence must—

(a)          contain a statement that the respondent intends to defend the claim notice; and

(b)          state the name and address of the respondent and an address for service in the European Union at which documents required to be served on the respondent may be left; and

(c)           if the respondent defends by a solicitor, state the name or firm and business address within the European Union of the solicitor and also, if the solicitor is an agent of another, the name or firm and business address of the principal.

An appearance and defence in a debt claim must be in Form 42.03, Schedule C. A respondent who intends to defend a debt claim must give, or send by post, to the claimant or solicitor for the claimant his or her appearance and defence not later than 28 days after the service on him or her of the claim notice, and must at the same time file a copy of his or her appearance with the Clerk.

A defence in a debt claim must state whether the claim is:

(a)          disputed as to both liability and amount;

(b)          disputed only as to amount and if so, what amount is admitted to be due;

(c)           admitted in full and if so, whether the respondent proposes to pay immediately or requires time for payment.

Unless the respondent requires further particulars of statement of claim, a respondent to a claim other than a debt claim who contests or disputes all or part of a claimant’s claim must serve an appearance and defence in Form 42.01, Schedule C on the claimant at the address for service stated in the claim notice and must file a copy of the appearance with the Clerk.

Order 42 also deals with

  • how a defence is to be drafted and what facts in the statement of claime are admitted, denied, not admitted
  • change of solicitor
  • notice requiring copy documents or further particulars
  • counterclaim
  • stay or dismissal of claim and striking out of statement of claim or defence.

Applications by Notice of Motion

Pre trial applications by Notice of Motion must be made in accordance with the rules set out in Order 44.

Warning

What’s set out above is a general guide only and is not legal advice; contact a solicitor for legal advice.