Home
English VersionIrish Version
Search for Click to Search
Advanced Search
Printable Version
All SectionsPractice DirectionsCourt Rules Terms & Sittings
Legal Diary Offices & Maps Judgments & Determinations

Classes of records


The records are classified into three sections as follows:

1. Classes of records which are available outside of the Freedom of Information Act 
2. Classes of records which may be subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act
3. Court records which are exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act

1. Classes of records which are available outside of Freedom of Information

The Courts Service is obliged under legislation to make certain classes of records available for public inspections. This type of information is available without the need to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Supreme and High Court Operations Directorate

Supreme Court Office

• Register of reserved judgments
• Index of delivered judgments
• List of Notaries Public and Commissioners for Oaths appointed by the Supreme Court 
• A signature list of persons called to the outer and inner bar

Central Office of the High Court

• Register of reserved judgments
• Electronic database containing case records including record numbers, the names of parties, the names of solicitors, the documents filed, the listing dates, the orders made and the judgments delivered in respect of civil cases (other than those heard in camera)
• Cause books containing above information from 1970 – 1993
• Register of judgments
• Lis pendens register
• Register of bills of sale
• Miscellaneous deeds

Taxing Masters' Office

• Bill of costs before and after taxation is completed (parties involved can inspect files)

Probate Office

• Copies of original wills which have been proved in the Probate Office
• Copies of original wills proved in the District Probate Registries
• Copies of grants of probate and letters of administration & supporting documentation relating to the grant application
• The Probate Register - members of the public can attend in person at the Probate Office and search the Probate Register on payment of the search fee of €10, alternatively a search can be requested by post the fee for which is €15.

Office of the Examiner of the High Court

• Bankruptcy Search Index (fee of €10 per search)
• Arranging Debtors Search Index (fee of €10 per search)
• Claims book (in respect of mortgage suits and administration suits) (no fee payable)

Circuit and District Court Operations Directorate

Circuit Court offices

• Legal aid register of solicitors

Circuit Court offices which have a Probate Registry

• Copies of grants of probate and letters of administration and supporting documentation relating to the grant application
• Copies of original wills

District Court offices

• Register of intoxicating liquor licenses
• Register of club licenses
• Legal aid register of solicitors

2. Classes of records which may be subject to release under Freedom of Information

General records common to each office

• Internal and external correspondence and emails relating to the administration of the office
• Staff records
• General administrative records
• Records relating to the purchase and supply of goods and services

Office of the Chief Executive

• Reports prepared for the Courts Service Board and committees of the Board and minutes of meetings
• Register of sealed decisions of the Courts Service Board
• Court Service observations on policy development
• Records relating to parliamentary questions
• Correspondence with various bodies and the general public
• Records relating to Freedom of Information and Data Protection

Judicial Support Unit

• Documentation in relation to the ongoing support provided to the judiciary

Internal Audit Unit

• Audit files
• Reports to the Audit Committee of the Courts Service Board

Supreme and High Court Operations Directorate

Office of the Directorate of Supreme and High Court Operations

• Correspondence on the operation of Supreme and High Court offices
• Statistics on the operation of the Supreme and High Courts

Circuit and District Court Operations Directorate

Office of the Directorate of Circuit and District Court Operations

• Correspondence on the operation of Circuit and District Court offices
• Statistics on the operation of Circuit and District courts
• Register of interpreters and related correspondence

Resource Management Directorate

Finance Management Unit

Records held in respect of financial/management accounting:
• Financial management monitoring and reporting
• Financial policy and procedures
• Annual appropriation account
• Service level agreements with the Financial Management Shared Service Killarney
• Estimates and funding material
• Financial annual report material
• Public Accounts Committee briefing material
• Procurement policy and procedures
• Tender documentation and contracts relating to Unit
• Finance and Audit Committee reports
• Risk management - policy and register
• Income analysis
• Refund of court fees
• Banking online

Office of the Accountant of the Courts of Justice and the Courts Accounts Office

• Auctioneers’ bonds (legacy)
• Ledgers for financial transactions prior to October 2003
• Schedule to court orders or an attested copy of affidavit lodged in the office
• Original share and An Post certificates, insurance policies, bank account books/statements
• Financial records for Supreme, High, Circuit and District court cases
• Bank details for court beneficiaries
• Manual invoices
• Monthly/quarterly/annual accounting returns and reports
• Dormant account returns
• Investment policy statements
• Policy and procedures on financial transactions

Learning & Development Unit

• Files on each training project organised by the Training Centre
• A record for each staff member who applies for refund of fees for third level courses
• Record of attendance at training programmes
• Individual staff members’ educational attainments

Directorate of Infrastructure Services

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Unit

• Records relating to the general operation of the I.C.T. Unit
• IT security records
• Technical reports and system documentation
• Project development, system maintenance and enhancement records for IT systems
• Records relating to correspondence with Civil Service Centre for Management and Organisational Development (CMOD)
• Tender and contractual records in respect of IT
• Asset Register
• Various periodicals, technical reports, textbooks and publications

Human Resources Unit

• A personnel & sick leave file for each member of staff of the Courts Service
• Record of instructions to Peoplepoint and/or Payroll Shared Services to make payment
• Records of travel and subsistence claims made by certain grades
• Records relating to internal and external promotional competitions
• Records containing correspondence between the Human Resource Unit and staff associations/unions
• Records of Conciliation and Arbitration meetings
• Records relating to staffing policy
• Records relating to staffing
• Records relating to the internal partnership process

Estate Management Unit

• Records relating to capital projects undertaken by the Courts Service nationwide
• Records relating to premises being leased by the Courts Service
• Records relating to property transactions including the vesting of courthouses from local authorities and the OPW
• Records relating to various facilities management services arrangements in place in Dublin venues
• Records relating to the Courts Service Building Committee
• Health and safety issues relating to court buildings
• Applications in respect of ID access cards for all court buildings in Dublin excluding the Criminal Courts of Justice

Information Office

• Published material (for example leaflets, booklets, annual reports)
• Statistics
• Tenders relevant to work of office
• Photographs

Reform and Development Directorate

Office of the Directorate of Reform and Development

• Records relating to the Rules Committees of the Superior, Circuit and District Courts held for those committees
• Records relating to policy matters affecting the various court jurisdictions
• Records  relating to statistics of the operation of the various court jurisdictions
• Records  relating to provision of legal services to the Courts Service and judiciary
• Records relating to the Working Group and its sub groups
• Records relating to committees and projects in which Reform and Development Directorate has participated or is participating
• Records relating to oversight of the Judges' Library

The Librarian

• Records relating to library administration
• Records relating to procurement of library stock, both hardcopy and electronic law sources
• Minutes of the Judges' Library Committee
• Records relating to sources of legal information
• Records relating to participation in activities of professional associations

3. Court records which are exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act

Court Records

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 does not apply to court records and therefore access to court records cannot be granted under the Act.

All records created in relation to court proceedings are considered 'court records'.

Court records are under the control of the courts and not the Courts Service, in accordance with section 65 of the Court Officers Act, 1926 which states that

'all proofs and all other documents and papers lodged in or handed in to any court in relation to or in the course of the hearing of any suit or matter shall be held by or at the order and disposal of the judge or the senior of the judges by or before whom such suit is heard.'

Additionally, section 42 (a) (i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 precludes the release of court records under the Freedom of Information Act other than a record relating to the general administration of the courts.

Section 42 (a) (i) states that:

'42. This Act does not apply to—

(a) a record held by—

(i) the courts, (…) and relating to, or to proceedings in, a court (…), other than—

...

(II) a record relating to the general administration of the courts or the offices of the courts.'

Outside of the Freedom of Information Act, right of access to court records is generally reserved for the parties to the case or their legal representatives.

Application for access to court records should be made directly to the court where the case was heard. You should supply as much information relating to the case as possible - such as full name, date of birth, address details at the time of the hearing, date of court appearances and court reference numbers if available.

Court recordings

Special procedures are in place for any party who wishes to apply for access to a recording of court proceedings.

The rules of court governing the procedure to be followed when seeking access to any recording of court proceedings and the terms on which access may be allowed are prescribed in the following Statutory Instruments:

◦ S.I. No. 99 of 2013 - District Court Rules (Recording of Proceedings) 2013
◦ S.I. No. 100 of 2013 - Circuit Court Rules (Recording of Proceedings) 2013
◦ S.I. No. 101 of 2013 - Superior Court Rules (Recording of Proceedings) 2013 

Any request for access to the record of court proceedings must be made by formal application to the trial judge in the proceedings, and on notice to the other party or parties to the proceedings.

It is a matter for the judge to decide whether, and in what format, access to the record is provided. Neither Courts Service officials nor court registrars have any function in determining whether a person may be allowed such access.