Pre-trial applications may be made in the District Court, in much the same way as in other Courts. An application is made by a notice of a notice of motion. Unless the Court otherwise directs, must be supported by an affidavit. The form of notice of motion is prescribed by the Rules.
Unless the Rules otherwise provide, the moving party other than in the case of a motion which is allowed to be made ex parte (unilateral application), must give at least 48 hours’ notice in writing to the Clerk of the Court. This filing of a notice of motion or application for issue, is deemed notice of the intention to make the application.
A notice of motion must set out direct particulars of the order, direction or relief sought, as appropriate to the case and a summary of the grounds of the application. Where relevant, it must contain a statement of the provisions of law including the provisions of any enactment relied on in making the application. The motion will be allocated a return date to by the Clerk.
Where the grounds for the order, direction or relief sought include failure or refusal of an opposing party to agree a matter, copies of correspondence or documents passing between the parties, concerned must be attached to the original notice of motion. Where practicable, a party must seek all of the interlocutory orders, directions and other reliefs which he seeks in civil proceeding on the same return date.
The application is served on the other party together with copy of the supporting affidavit unless the rules otherwise provide. Every notice of motion must be served at least seven days before the return date. If it has not been served sufficiently before the done date or at all, the Clerk may at the request of the party filing it, amend the notice of motion on or before return date to set another date. Other amendments to a notice may be made, only with the consent of Court.
The person making the application or motion must make available sufficient copies of the motion and associated papers for use by the Judge. The Court may adjourn the notice of motion on such terms as it thinks just. It may hear the motion in the absence of the other party, if it is satisfied that it was duly served.
A Court may on application by a notice of motion by a person affected, set aside, discharge or vary an original order where the application for the order was made on notice but the person did not attend or was not made on notice to that person. The Court may make such orders as to costs or otherwise, as it sees fit.
There are provisions for making lodgements in the District Court, which are in broadly similar terms to those which apply applicable in other Courts. See separately the chapter dealing with lodgements.
The respondent may at any time in civil proceedings up to expiry of the time limited for filing of an appearance and defence, lodge the money which he alleges to be sufficient to satisfy the claim. It may be on terms that take into account other claims between the claimant and respondent.
The notice of making of a lodgement must be given in a prescribed form. A copy must be served on the claimant and filed with the District Court. The fact or the amount of the lodgement may not be disclosed to the Court. Neither the fact or amount of the lodgement may be intimated in the defence or other proceedings.
A party whose claim a lodgement is intended to meet, may accept it within 28 days or at a later time with the written consent of the party who makes the lodgement. A late lodgement may be accepted within 28 days or later by written consent of the lodging party.
On acceptance of a lodgement, the amount lodged may be paid without judgment or order. The accepting party must file a notice of acceptance. If the amount of costs to which the party who has accepted the lodgement is entitled cannot be agreed, the Court may, on the application, determine the scale of costs that is to apply.
A party may make a lodgement or further increasing the lodgement, within 28 days of amended statement of claim or pleading with the written consent of the claimant within such period as is permitted by consent or with the permission of Court.
Where a person does not accept the lodgement, that party is liable for all costs incurred after the lodgement unless the Court determines the amount due in respect of the claim is greater than the amount lodged.
If the Court decides the amount due is less than the amount lodged, the Court must award costs in respect of the proceedings after the lodgement. The Court may make an order regarding disposal of the amount lodged. Where due to special circumstances specifically identified by the Court, the Court may order that the party who did not accept the lodgement is not liable for all or any specified part of the costs and/or may recover specified amount of the costs against the lodging party.
Certain qualified entities which are assumed to be of high creditworthiness, may make a qualifying tender. This includes State sector bodies, the Motor Insurers Bureau and the Visiting Motor Insurers Bureau. The parties do not need to pay the monies concerned. Broadly similar provisions apply to a qualifying tender.
Security for Costs
A party who requires security for costs may apply in writing to the other party for security. Where the party does not undertake to provide security, the applicant may apply to Court for an order that security for cost be provided. The Court may make an order requiring a party to give security for costs, in such manner as the Court directs.
A respondent is not entitled to an order compelling a claimant to give security solely on the ground that the claimant resides outside the State unless the respondent shows to the satisfaction of the Court that he has defence on the merits.
No order may be given against a person who is a resident of another EU State or against a party who applies, under the EU Judgments legislation or Convention for enforcement of a judgment in another EU State or Contracting State, solely on the ground that the claimant is a foreign national or is not domiciled or resident in the State.
If a claimant fails to give the security when required by Court order, the Court may dismiss the claimant\’s notice. The order for security for costs may be varied or set aside.
The District Court Rules make provision for discovery broadly similar to that applicable in other Courts. See more generally the provisions on discovery and inspection of documents. Discovery and inspection does not apply to debt claims unless an order has been made giving leave to defend, or to small claims.
A respondent may, at any time after service and before delivery of an appearance and defence, request the claimant in writing to furnish copies of all correspondence or other documents listed in the statement of claim; and any other documents referred to in the statement of claim. A claimant may, after service of appearance or defence, make a request to the respondent in writing for copies of all correspondence and other documents listed in the appearance and defence; or other documents mentioned in the appearance of the defence.
In each of the above cases, the party to whom the request is made, must within seven days provide copies of the documents which are in his possession or control or procurement on payment of reasonable charges for copying them; or produce such of the documents as are in his possession or power of procurement for inspection by the party who has made the request and permit him to take copies. If agreed by the parties, copies may be provided in electronic form. Inspection may be permitted of documents in electronic form.
A party who fails to comply with a request, may not afterwards put the documents concerned in evidence on his behalf, unless the Court is satisfied that there was sufficient reason for not complying with the request. The Court may allow the document to be put in evidence on such terms as to costs and otherwise as it thinks fit.
Where a party wishes to have discovery of documents in addition to those above, he must first request voluntary discovery within a period of 21 days from the date of the request. The respondent must specify the precise documents or categories of documents in respect of which discovery is sought. He must provide the reasons why each category of document is required to be discovered and explain why the discovery of document sought is necessary for disposing fairly of the claim or for saving costs.
If the party requested, fails or neglects to make discovery or ignores the request, the party seeking discovery may apply to the Court by a motion supported by affidavit for an order directing discovery on oath of the documents which are or have been in his possession or power of procurement, relating to any matter in the proceeding. The Court may on hearing the motion, refuse or adjourn it or may make such order in relation to discovery and costs as it thinks just.
Where by reasons of urgency of the matter or by consent of the parties, the nature of the case or other circumstances as the Court deems appropriate, the Court may make such order for discovery by any party as appears proper, without the necessity for a prior application in writing.
Court Order for Discovery
The Court may at any time while civil proceedings are pending, order the production by any party to proceedings, on oath, of such of the documents in his possession or power, relating to the matter in question, as the Court thinks right. The Court may deal with such documents, when produced, in a manner which it considers just.
If a party served with a request omits to provide copies or notify a time for inspection, or objects to allowing inspection, the Court may, on the application of the party desiring it, make an order for inspection at such time and such place as the Court directs.
If a party fails to comply with an order for discovery or inspection, his claim may be dismissed for want of prosecution. Correspondingly if a respondent fails to comply with an order for discovery or inspection of documents, his appearance or defence, maybe, struck out.
When application is made for production for inspection of a document and it is claimed to be privileged or objected to on other grounds, the Court may inspect the document for the purpose of determining the validity of the claim or objection.
Where a Court gives directions regarding discovery or inspection of documents, a party may not serve a request for discovery on any other party except in accordance with those directions.
Third Party Discovery
Discovery and interrogatories may be sought and granted against non-parties. Where the Court is satisfied, on application of a party by a notice of motion that a person who is not a party is likely to have or have had in his possession or power of procurement, documents which are relevant to an issue arising or likely to arise out of the claim or proceeding or is likely to be in a position to give evidence relevant to such issue, then the Court may make on order to a non-party to answer interrogatories set out in the order or to make discovery or to permit inspection of documents.
An order may not be made unless the Court is satisfied where relevant, that the moving party has sought the documents or the evidence, which is the subject of the application, from the party to the proceedings and the documents or evidence, is not available from the party to the proceedings.
Before issuing a motion for such order for third-party discovery, the party seeking the discovery from the non-party must first send a request for voluntary disclosure to the non-party and a copy to the parties to the proceedings. The party seeking an order must indemnify the non-party in respect of all costs reasonably incurred by the non-party in answering the interrogatories or making discovery and the costs borne by the party seeking the order must be costs of that party in the proceedings.
There is provision for remission of a claim to the Circuit Court or High Court where appropriate given the level or value of claim. The application is made by a motion to the Court.