The changes to the monetary jurisdiction of the District Court (up to €15,000) as provided for in the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 was also accompanied by a significant overhaul of the District Court Rules.
The District Court Rules have been substantially revised by way of the District Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2014 (S.I. 17 OF 2014).
Some of the key changes to District Court procedure include;
- Instead of a Civil Summons District Court civil proceedings are now commenced by a Claim Notice which contains much more information in respect of the particulars of the Plaintiff’s (now known as a Claimant) claim including the correspondence and other documentation which the claimant intends to rely on at trial.
- A Defendant (now known as a Respondent) is allowed 28 days from the date of service of the Claim Notice to file an Appearance and Defence. Under the previous rules a Defendant was not obliged to deliver a Defence or outline any details in relation to same prior to a hearing.
- If a Respondent does not respond to the proceedings then the Claimant can apply for Judgment in Default of Defence.
- A Claimant may within 28 days after delivery of a defence apply to the Respondent for copies of documents listed in the Defence and/ or require further particulars. Equally a Respondent may prior to the delivery of their Defence seek copies of any documents listed in the Statement of Claim. Either party may seek further particulars of any matter pleaded if they are considered reasonably necessary.
- Finally a new increased scale of costs has been introduced and although it can be argued that they remain insufficient to cover the actual costs incurred by a Claimant/Creditor for pursuing an action under the new rules there is provision for the schedule/scale of costs to be revised every three years.