We have a three tier Judicial system in Ireland. Depending on the value of the claim, an action can be brought either before the District Court, the Circuit Court, or the High Court. The Supreme Court is the ultimate Court of Appeal in Ireland.
The amount of the claim generally speaking will decide in which Court the case is brought. The problem with personal injury claims is that you do not know at the beginning of the case what the final value will be. This is a matter which is ultimately up to the Judge to decide.
The levels of Court jurisdiction are changed every so often to take into account inflation and other factors.
The District Court can award financial compensation up to a total value of €15,000.00. The Circuit Court can award up to €75,000.00. The High Court has absolute jurisdiction which means that it can award whatever it likes. As already mentioned, the Supreme Court is a Court of Appeal and has no limit on its jurisdiction.
Although, the progress of a case brought before a District Court, Circuit Court, or High Court will vary, there is a basic similarity in the procedures. Normally, a case will be commenced with a warning letter sent by your Solicitor to the other side claiming compensation for your injuries. Frequently, the letter will say that if the matter is not resolved within a certain period of time that Court proceedings will be served. The warning letter is then followed by a formal document depending on which Court will be hearing the case. After that, the other side may request further information about the claim and finally a written Defence will be served by them. The case will then be set down for trial and ultimately for Hearing before a Judge.
See walshandpartners.ie/blog for more on Personal Injury claims!!