District Court President Mr Justice Colin Daly has issued a practice direction (PD) on civil proceedings in the Dublin Metropolitan District Court.
The PD has been sent out “in the interests of the administration of justice and the determination of proceedings in a manner that is just, expeditious and is likely to minimise costs”, the Courts Service has said.
The direction applies to civil proceedings defined by the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 “to include any cause, action, suit or matter other than a criminal proceeding” but will not include family law or child care cases.
It reads as follows:
Part one – Remote hearings
1. Such civil proceedings or part of same may proceed by way of participation by remote hearing in certain circumstances. Participation in a remote hearing is defined by the 2020 Act as follows: “a person participates by remote hearing in proceedings where he or she so participates from a location other than the court itself, whether within the State or outside the State, and by means of electronic communications technology”,
2. “Electronic communications technology” is defined by the 2020 Act as “technology that enables real time transmission and real time two-way-audio-visual or audio communication that enable a person to participate in the hearing from a location other than the court itself”,
3. When notice of trial is served and/or a date is sought for the hearing of a civil proceeding under order 49 of the District Court Rules, the applicant/claimant or the respondent may request that all or part of the proceedings proceed by way of remote participation pursuant to this Practice Direction,
4. Where no objection to the request that all or part of the proceedings proceed by way of remote participation is received by the clerk within 10 days of receipt of the notice of trial and the court deems it an appropriate case to proceed by remote hearing, the court will direct the clerk to fix a date for trial via remote hearing platform. Participation details will be notified to the parties, including a requirement that all parties complete a confirmation of authorised participants attending virtual courtroom form,
5. In the event that an application in a return for trial to participate remotely for all and/or part of the proceedings is not agreed by the other party, then an application can be made by that party to the court on notice pursuant to this practice direction and order 44 of the District Court Rules seeking the court’s determination on the matter.
Part two – consent orders
1. If parties have settled a civil proceeding on agreed terms before the allocated hearing date, and a consent court order is required, the terms of agreement are to be submitted to the court office (by way of sworn affidavit if evidence is required) and the matter will be brought to the attention of the presiding judge, who will determine the matter in accordance with law and the determination will be notified to the parties,
2. If parties to a civil proceeding are agreeing to an adjournment of a scheduled hearing date, the reason and purpose must be notified to the court office and the matter will be brought to the attention of the presiding judge who will determine the matter in accordance with law and the determination will be notified to the parties,
3. If the presiding judge determines that the matter is one which requires an oral hearing, the parties will be notified by the court office of the date and time allocated.
Part three – proceedings by sworn affidavit
1. If parties agree to the determination by the court on the pleadings and affidavit evidence pursuant to order 49 rule 1 (2) of the District Court Rules and the presiding judge is satisfied that all relevant information necessary to a determination has been filed with the court, the presiding judge can issue a determination in accordance with law. It is the responsibility of the parties to ensure in these circumstances that all relevant facts and material have been submitted to the court. Any such determination will be notified to the parties and delivered in court.
2. If the presiding judge determines that the matter is one which requires an oral hearing the parties will be notified by the court office of the date and time allocated.