Appeal to Circuit Court
An appeal lies from many decision of the District Court to the Circuit Court. The relevant Circuit Court is that for the circuit in which the relevant district is situate.
An appeal from the District Court is brought by Notice of Appeal. It must be served on all parties within 14 days of the date of the decision appealed against. It may be served on a solicitor for a party who is legally represented. Where the party has not been represented by a solicitor, it must be served personally or by leaving it at the person\’s residence or place of business with a person over 16 years’ of age.
The Notice of Appeal must be lodged with the District Court offices. It may be lodged personally or by registered post. When an appeal is lodged, the appeal papers are transmitted by the District Court office to the relevant Circuit Court / County Registrar\’s office.
There is provision for application to court to extend time in which to appeal. Time to appeal may be extended on such terms as the court thinks fit. He must establish arguable grounds of appeal. Generally, the applicant must show that he had a bona fide intention to appeal within the standard appeal time. He must usually show that he has made a mistake. A mistake about the rule or mistake on Counsel’s or solicitor\’s part is not sufficient.
Nature of Appeal
Generally, an appeal is not a stay on the District Court order, unless the court otherwise orders. The appeal may operate as a stay on such terms as the court orders. In considering whether to grant a stay, the court takes account of a number of factors, including whether there is genuine issue as to liability, whether monies paid might subsequently be irrecoverable, whether the appeal may itself may damage the injured party, whether the appeal is legitimate or is a bargaining weapon, and the length of time between the event concerned and the appeal.
An appeal from the District Court to the Circuit Court is by way of a complete rehearing of the case. New evidence will not generally be allowed unless an exceptional issue is raised and the interests of justice so require. The evidence offered must not have been in existence at the time of the trial or must be such that it could not have been obtained with due diligence at the time of trial. It must be such that it will probably have an important influence on the case, although not necessarily a decisive influence.
In the higher courts, there is a discretion as to whether new evidence may be allowed on an appeal. In a High Court appeal from the Circuit Court, the rules require that the party who brings forward fresh evidence, must serve and lodge an affidavit setting out the evidence and the reasons why it was not previously furnished. A replying affidavit may be made by the other party.
An application may be made in the hearing for the purpose of submitting replying evidence. The court may at any time admit fresh evidence, oral or otherwise, on such terms that it thinks fit. It may order the attendance of any person who makes an affidavit.
Administrative Appeals to District Court
There exists a significant amount of legislation under which administrative decisions may be appealed to the District Court. Appeals against administrative orders and determinations are commonly provided for in relation to enforcement. It is often provided for in relation to suspensions and refusals of licences.
The procedure and forms required for the appeal are set out in the District Court rules. The appeal is usually served on the other party / respondent in the matter concerned and other persons affected by the appeal. This is generally required to be done within 14 days.
There is a special procedure by which an appeal can be taken on a point of law from the District Court to the High Court. This applies to both civil and summary criminal District Court proceedings. If a party is dissatisfied with a district judge’ s determination on a point of law, he may apply in writing within 14 days to the judge, to state a case for the opinion of the High Court.
The application can only be made, once the matter has been decided by the District Court. The procedure only relates to a point of law. The judge\’s application of the facts to the law cannot be challenged.
The District Court has discretion to refuse a case stated, if it considers the application to be frivolous. If a judge refuses to state a case, the applicant may apply directly to the High Court requiring him to show cause why the case should not be stated. The District Judge may not refuse an application for a case stated to a Governmental authority, the attorney general or the DPP
Procedures are provided in respect of the stating of a case to the High Court. Notice must be served on the other parties to the proceedings. If the judge grants the application, he must prepare and sign the case within six months of the application and adjourn the proceedings\’ pending preparation of the case as he deems appropriate. The judge may submit a draft of the case to the parties for agreement.
The High Court may confirm, reverse or amend the District Court decision. It may remit the matter to the District Court with such directions. The High Court decision is final and conclusive. Technically, under the Constitution, it may be capable of appeal to the Supreme Court.
Under another provision, the judge on request may refer any point of law for determination of the high court. In such event the proceeding shall be adjourned until the high court determination is given. This procedure may occur at any point in proceeding. The high court remits the matter on conclusion.