The Government has published draft legislation which will, if passed, increase the monetary jurisdiction levels of the Circuit and District Courts. The monetary limit of the District Court will be raised from €6,384 to €15,000 while the monetary limit of the Circuit Court will be raised from €38,097 to €75,000.
In personal injury actions, the monetary jurisdiction limit of the Circuit Court will be limited to €60,000 due to concerns relating to possible inflation of awards and the consequential effect on insurance costs.
These changes, if implemented, will facilitate the hearing of an increased number of civil actions in the District and Circuit Courts, leading to both lower legal costs for the parties involved and a reduction in the waiting list of cases before the High Court.
While the proposed changes have been broadly welcomed, concerns have been expressed that the District and Circuit courts will not have sufficient resources to deal with the pressure of the increased workload. This is particularly the case given that the Minister for Justice, Mr Alan Shatter, has ruled out the appointment of new judges.