Cost of taking cases to fall as lower courts are given more power
THE cost of taking an action in the courts is expected to be reduced from Monday.
Changes are being introduced to increase the monetary jurisdiction of the circuit and district courts from then.
Under the Courts and Civil Law Act, the circuit court will be given the power to hear cases involving sums of up to €75,000 while the district court will be able to deal with cases of up to €15,000. It generally costs less to pursue a case through the lower courts.
The changes mean that a substantial amount of litigation previously dealt with by the circuit court will now be handled by the district court with similar transfer of cases between the circuit and high courts.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said last night: "The changes to the jurisdiction limits of the circuit and district courts should ultimately lead to reduced legal costs for individuals and companies involved in litigation.
"It is crucial that parties involved in legal conflict do not incur more legal costs than are necessary in circumstances in which they have to resort to litigation.
"It is also important that our court jurisdictions keep substantially in line with inflation and that our higher courts are not unnecessarily overburdened with appeals that could and should be properly dealt with at a lower level," Mr Shatter added.
He noted that it was over 20 years since the monetary jurisdiction of the courts was changed and he said these were important and substantial reforms, which were in the public interest.
Their commencement on February 3 marks another milestone in the modernisation of the legal system and structures, he said.