Notice of Trial
Where an appearance and defence have been served and filed, the claimant may serve a notice of trial in the form prescribed by the Rule. Not less than 10 days notice of trial must be given to the respondent and all other necessary parties. The parties may agree a shorter period.
The notice of trial must be filed with the Clerk promptly following service. A separate copy must be filed for each additional party. Unless otherwise requested by the party giving notice of trial or otherwise directed, the notice of trial operates to set the claim down for hearing at the next available time following expiry of the period mentioned in the notice of trial as is assigned by the Clerk.
Unless the Court and Clerk otherwise direct, the next available time is the next available sitting of the Court for civil business for the Court area. The case is heard at such time at which the claim comes in its order in the list.
In any case where the parties have agreed that the claim and counterclaim, as the case may be, is ready for hearing, the notice of trial may include a request agreed between the parties for the hearing to be specially fixed and the reasons for such request. The notice of trial must be accompanied by a letter from the opposing party consenting to the request.
The Clerk must give notice of the time and place for which the trial is listed to the party who has served a notice of trial. A party who has served notice of trial must promptly notify all parties of the time and place where the trial is listed.
A motion for discovery may not be issued later than 14 days after notice of trial has been served.
Notice of Trial Isses
Where the claimant fails to serve notice of trial within 10 days after delivery of the respondent’s defence, the respondent may do so and file the notice of trial above. If the claimant fails to serve a notice of trial within 10 days after the respondent’s defence, the respondent may, instead of issuing notice of trial, apply to the Court by motion to dismiss the claim for want of prosecution. The Court may on such application, order the claim to be dismissed, or make such order as it considers just.
The party serving notice of trial must, at the time of filing the notice, file with the Clerk, for use by the Judge the following:
- a set of copies of the pleadings, including particulars, and any affidavits, in chronological sequence;
- a set of correspondence relied on by either party, in chronological sequence;
- copies of any other documents directed to be filed.
Where the Judge assigned permanently to the District, or in the Dublin District, the President of the District Court so directs in respect of civil proceedings or particular categories of civil proceedings, a completed case management questionnaire must be filed.
Case Management I
The Court may at any time of its own motion, having heard the parties, give directions and make such orders including the fixing of time limits for the conduct of civil proceedings as appear convenient for the determination of the proceedings in a manner which is just, expeditious and likely to minimise the cost of the proceedings.
Except where the District Court Rules provide otherwise, the court may ensure that the issues, whether as to fact or law, are defined as clearly or as precisely and as concisely, as possible. It may give case management directions as to the steps which remain to be taken to prepare a case for trial and the timetable for completion of the preparations of the case for trial. The court may adopt a timetable proposed by the parties if satisfied that it is reasonable.
The Court may make orders and give directions with respect to pleadings, the exchange between the parties of statements of issue, the identifying of issues in dispute between the parties, particulars, discovery, inspection of documents and otherwise, which may be necessary or expedient.
The Court may make inquiries of the parties in order to ascertain the likely length of the trial and the arrangements, if any, for witnesses, information and communications technology, including video conferencing and any other arrangements which may be made for the trial.
The Court may fix the time and mode of trial and may fix a date for trial and give directions as to the service of a notice of trial. It may make any orders and give directions in respect of arrangements for the trial, as the Court considers necessary.
Case Management II
The Court may direct any expert witness to consult with each other for the purposes of identifying the issues in relation to which they give evidence and where possible, reaching agreement on the evidence that they intend to give in respect of the issues and considering any matter which the Court may direct them to consider. It may require that such witnesses’ record in a memorandum to be jointly submitted to the court and delivered by them to the parties, particulars of the outcome of their consultations, within such time as the court specifies. The outcome is not binding on the parties.
The court may adjourn consideration of the case management directions from time to time and from place to place as may be appropriate, in order to enable any order made or direction given to be complied with or any act or step to be done.
The Court when considering case management directions, may on the application of any of the parties or of its own motion, exercise its powers to invite the parties to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution process to settle or determine the proceedings or issue and make consequential orders.
The Clerk must maintain case management records. They may be held electronically. A copy of the case management directions are to be put in the Court file and further copies are to be made available to the parties.
In any case where the court adjourns civil proceedings in a hearing for the purpose of considering case management directions, the solicitors appearing for each of the parties, or party himself, must attend the case management hearing and any adjournment of it. Where the Court considers it necessary or desirable, it may direct a party to attend a case management hearing, notwithstanding the fact that he may be represented by a solicitor.
The representatives of parties attending a case management hearing must ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the civil proceedings and have authority from the party whom they represent, to deal with any matters that are likely to be dealt with.
Representatives appearing at a case management hearing must ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the civil proceedings and have authority from the party whom they represent, to deal with matters which are likely to arise. Where a party is represented by counsel, such counsel may attend, but the fees of counsel for attending a case management hearing will be allowed, only if the Court so certifies.
The Judge taking a case management hearing may determine that the civil proceeding should be heard by another Judge.
Notice to Admit Facts
A party may by written notice to the other party to civil proceedings in the District Court, request him to admit the authenticity of any document. The notice is in a prescribed format. Where the other party refuses or neglects to admit the document after notice is given, the cost of proving the document must be paid, if the Court certifies that the refusal to admit was unreasonable.
A party may by written notice made not less than 10 days before the trial, call on the other party to admit certain facts relevant to the trial, set out in the notice. An admission is only such for the purpose of the particular civil proceedings and may not be used on other occasions. The Court may allow any party to amend or withdraw an admission, on such terms as the Court considers just.
Where the party refuses or neglects to admit the facts within seven days after notice has been given or such further time as the Court may allow, the cost of proving the facts must be paid by the party who neglected or refused to admit the same, regardless of the result. This does not apply if the court at the hearing certifies that the refusal to admit facts was reasonable or if the Court otherwise orders or directs.
Unless the Court otherwise orders, all costs and expenses as in the opinion of the Court have been caused by the failure of a party to serve a notice to admit documents or notice to admit facts must, be paid by the party who failed to serve the notice.
Admissions, if not made during the hearing, must be in writing and must be signed by the person making the admission or his solicitor.
The Court may, permit any party to amend his statement of claim or other pleading on such terms as it considers just. Amendments must be permitted as are necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties. The Court may, amend any defect or error in any proceeding.
A pleading or other document may be amended by written alterations in the copy served. Extensive amendments may be set out on additional sheets of paper. The Court may correct clerical errors in a judgment or order, arising from an accidental slip or omission. This may be done at any time by notice of motion by the party seeking the correction on notice to the party affected by it.