In an attempt to speed up the administration of justice and become more efficient, the Supreme Court has made a number of changes to the Civil Procedure Rules in particular Rules 25 and 30 which include amongst others the following:
- Within 30 days from the date on which the pleadings are completed, the Claimant is entitled to issue a summons for directions;
- Failing to do so, will result in the Defendant serving a notice to the Claimant for failure to file such an application, requiring it to be remedied within 30 days by filing an application for directions. A further failure to do so after 60 days will result in the court striking out the action and the faulty party shall be liable to pay costs.
- Every party shall specify in the annex required, the precise directions that it wants the court to issue within 30 days of the service of the summons for directions such as for example admitted facts or disclosure. Failure to do so will result in the parties being barred from requesting such directions on the day on which the case is appointed for directions, unless a good reason is provided to justify exercising the court's discretionary powers.
Claims under €3000
The court will issue directions to each party to submit their testimony in writing in the form of a sworn affidavit from each witness, which will constitute the entire witness testimony and include the exhibits that they wish to submit. The trial of such actions will be based solely on the sworn affidavits with no oral testimony, unless the court:
- decides otherwise based on factors such as the need for the witness to be cross-examined; or
- accepts an application by one of the parties to allow oral examination in chief or cross-examination, as is the case.
Claims over €3000
The court will issue directions to each party to submit a written witness list with a summary of the testimony that they will present. Time limits now apply to chief examination and cross-examinations of the witnesses of the parties. Nonetheless the procedure for claims under €3,000 can apply if both parties agree to it.