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Taking a Civil Case

Introduction

There are various types of civil claims that you may take to court or be obliged to defend in court.

Before commencing proceedings in your civil case, a number of matters will arise such as instructing a solicitor and the issue of the cost of the case..

Many cases do not get to court because they are settled in advance. The settlement of claims section explains the issues surrounding settlements and "lodgements".

After the court case , if you are unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal the decision.

Commencing proceedings in your civil case

Which court?

Whether your case is heard in the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court will depend on the value of your case, i.e., how much you claim the Defendant should pay you.

If you have been injured in an accident, the value of your case will be assessed by your legal representatives by considering doctors' reports about the nature and extent of your injuries and the prognosis for the future.

The District Court has power to award up to 6,348.69 euro in damages. The Circuit Court has power to award up to 38,092 euro in damages. The High Court has unlimited power to award damages.

If is important to note that if your case is heard in Circuit Court and you are awarded less than 6,349 euro in damages or in the High Court and you are awarded less than 38,092 euro in damages, you may be penalised in costs.

This means that even though you have won your case, you may be obliged to pay the extra costs incurred by both sides by having the case heard in the higher court.

To commence proceedings, you must issue and serve a written court document called a writ or pleading.

 

Time Limits for Actions

Under the Civil Liability & Courts Act 2004 a personal injuries claim, i.e., where you have suffered injuries as a result of an accident or incident, must be commenced within two years from 31st March 2005 or three years from the date of the accident, whichever occurs first. It is important to note that you cannot pursue a personal injuries action throuth the courts without first submitting your claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board process.

A claim based on nuisance, i.e., where a person has interfered with your enjoyment of your property, must be brought within three years of the nuisance.

A claim based on breach of contract or libel must be brought within six years of the breach or publication. A claim based on slander must be brought within three years of the publication.

Cases relating to land generally must be brought within 12 years.

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