A Kildare based Personal Injury Solicitor has said today that the proposed increases in the monetary limits of the Circuit and District Courts will lead to huge delays in progressing injury claims and will bring chaos to regional Circuit Courts. The new Courts Bill of 2013 which has recently been published by the Dept. of Justice includes the following changes for Civil Actions:
● Increasing the Circuit limit for Civil Cases other than personal Injury Actions to £75,000 from the current threshold of £38,092 and increasing the limit in the District Court to £15,000 from £6,384.
● Increasing the monetary limit of the Circuit Court to £60,000 for Personal Injury actions.
Liam Moloney, a Naas based Personal Injury Lawyer criticised the Draft Bill by saying “both District and Circuit Courts are currently working beyond their capacity. There are considerable delays in getting Court actions listed for Trial. In some Court areas delays can be up to 3-4 years from the time a case commences. It is not unheard of for a case to even take longer to be finalised. It is clear that these Courts do not have enough resources to deal with the extra pressure which will be placed upon them by this increased workload”.
Mr Moloney continued “this Bill was published without adequate consultation with all stake holders. The High Court personal injury list is currently functioning very well and there are absolutely no delays in getting cases listed for Hearing. This adds to the efficient administration of Justice and reduces the stress on claimants”.
Mr Moloney added “at the moment Circuit Courts outside of Dublin sit on average 5-6 times per year. If a case commences and is not finished within the Circuit Court sitting then the case has to be adjourned to the next sitting which causes inevitable delay and additional legal costs which is the opposite to what the Minister intends. The Minister must immediately carry out a detailed analysis of the current workload of the Circuit and District Courts outside of Dublin and how in practice these Courts are going to deal with this additional workload and to publish this before the Bill becomes law’.
He continued “the Circuit and District Courts must firstly be properly resourced with extra Judges and support staff appointed and specific Civil divisions created to deal with the thousands of new cases that may now end up there. There is no point in replacing an extremely efficient system with an inefficient one.”