Warrant of Commital

A warrant of committal to prison or committal in default payment of a penalty must be in clear terms and must show the name of the institution or prison to which the accused is committed.

A warrant issued and recognisance entered in respect of an offence, shall contain or have attached, special particulars to identify the offences or offences, the subject of the warrant or recognisance as the case may be.

A warrant issued by a judge of the District Court, signed by the judge or District Court clerk is evidence of legal proceedings of the matters to which the warrant relates until the contrary is shown.

Where a person has been sentenced to imprisonment, Court shall issue a warrant of committal immediately where the imprisonment is to take immediate effect.  Where the imprisonment is not to take immediate effect, the Court may either issue a warrant of committal directing that it is not to be executed until the time at which the imprisonment is to take place or may issue such warrant at any time after the time fixed for the imprisonment to commence.

Commital for Non-Payment of Fine

In cases of summary jurisdiction, when an order has been made upon the conviction of a person for payment of a penal sum and the sum has not been paid, the Court may issue a warrant of committal to imprisonment for non-payment at any time not later than six months from the expiration of the time fixed for the order for payment.

A warrant of arrest or a warrant to commit a person sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine or search warrant may be executed on any day and at any time.

Where an order is made directing that any penalty or other sum of money is levied by distress, the Court shall, may thereupon, if no time is allowed for payment or after expiration of the time allowed for payment, issue a warrant to levy by distress the said penalty or sum of money if the order has not been complied with.


Warrants issued for the purpose of enforcing an order are to be entered by the clerk in the minute book, charge sheet, fines register as appropriate.

All warrants except as otherwise provided in respect of offences punishable on indictment or summarily issued by the District Court shall be addressed to the Superintendent or Inspector of An Garda Siochana of the district.

Warrants of committal in the Dublin Metropolitan District may be addressed to the governor of the prison into whose custody the person is being committed.

In cases of emergency, Court may address a warrant to any member of An Garda Siochana within its district.  Such members may execute such warrants at any place within the district in which the Court issuing such warrant has jurisdiction.  A member of An Garda Síochána to whom such warrant is addressed shall, if the time shall permit, show and deliver the same to the Superintendent or Inspector under whose command the said member is.

Distress of Goods

Where in case of distress, any goods of the person against whom the warrant is issued are found in any place which the Superintendent or Inspector to whom the warrant is addressed acts, then the Superintendent or Inspector shall execute the warrant.

Where goods of such person cannot be found in any place, for which the Superintendent or Inspector act may be found elsewhere in the State, the Superintendent or Inspector may certify on the warrant the place where he believes that such goods will be found and forthwith transmit the warrant to the Superintendent over the latter place, who shall execute it as if it was issued to him in the first instance.

Where any goods are seized under a warrant of distress, Superintendent or Inspector may sell or authorise the Sergeant or member of An Garada Síochána to sell the goods by auction within such time as shall be fixed by the warrant.  If no such period is fixed, then within five days from the day they are seized unless the sum to be levied by the warrant and also expenses of taking and keeping such goods shall have been paid before the goods are sold.  Where such goods are sold, the surplus if any, after retaining the amount to be levied together with reasonable expensed incurred in auctioning such goods as well as the expense of taking and keeping shall be paid to the owner of the goods.  An auctioneer’s license is not necessary for the sale.

Where the sale does not realise sufficient sum after payment of expenses, the person to whom the warrant is issued shall so certify.

Tender Fine after Arrest

Where any person against whom any warrant issues, pays or tenders, the person having execution of the warrant, the sum in such warrant mentioned, produces the receipt of the clerk for the same, the person executing shall refrain from executing.

Where a person who is apprehended under a warrant of committal pays or causes to be paid the sum for which he is imprisoned, mentioned in the warrant or such reduced sum as might be allowed under Section 3, Criminal Justice Act, 1914, the governor shall receive the same and there upon discharge the person.

Where a warrant to commit a person to prison is issued, the officer or a member of An Garda Síochána or other person whose duty is to convey the person, shall deliver the said warrant  to the governor of the prison named.

It may be posted if the person is already in custody of the governor.  The governor shall detain the person for such period and in such manner as is stated in the warrant and in case of adjournments or remand, cause the prisoner to be brought before a Court as is specified.

Warrant to Levy Penalty

Where a warrant to levy a penalty is issued, the member of An Garda Síochána executing the warrant shall pay the sum levied to the District Court clerk.

Where a warrant to levy any sum other than a penalty is issued, the member of An Garda Síochána executing such warrant shall pay the sum levied to the clerk from which the warrant was issued and such clerk shall pay it to the person entitled to receive it in such manner and subject to such account, as the Court to directs.

Execution of Warrant

A warrant must be executed as soon as reasonably possible.  If it is delayed, other than through evasion by the defendant, it may be invalidated.  The only person entitled to alter a warrant is the relevant District Judge.  Where a defective warrant is issued, a valid warrant may be substituted.

Where a warrant other than a warrant for arrest of

  • a person charged with indictable offence,
  • person who has failed to appear in answer to a summons,
  • a bench warrant for arrest of a person who has failed to appear in accordance with a recognisance or
  • a search warrant

is addressed for execution, and the adressee  has been unable to find the person against whom the warrant is issued or discover where that person is, the person shall having execution of the warrant, shall return it to the Court at such time as is fixed or within a reasonable time not exceeding six months with a certificate endorsed stating why it has not been executed.  The Court may reissue the warrant.


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