On 19 March 2013, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter T.D., announced the publication of the Courts Bill 2013.
The Bill has two purposes, the first of which is to modify the in camera rule which prevents members of the public, including the news media, from being present in court when family law and child care proceedings are being heard. The second purpose of the Bill is to increase the monetary jurisdiction limits of the Circuit and District Courts in civil proceedings.
The Bill proposes to increase the jurisdiction of the District Court to €15,000 and the Circuit Court to €75,000 in civil proceedings. However, in personal injury actions, the revised monetary jurisdiction limit of the Circuit Court will be €60,000.
Up to now, plaintiffs have more readily initiated claims arising out of allegations of bullying and harassment in the High Court. Employers will welcome the fact that a plaintiff will now have to think more carefully as to whether the potential value of their claim properly falls within the jurisdiction of the High Court. An incorrect choice, could result in a Plaintiff being responsible for the extra costs incurred by virtue of the fact a lower Court would have been the appropriate forum.