Failure to resolve a claim
If the Small Claims Registrar fails to resolve the claim
If the Small Claims Registrar is unable to bring about a settlement he/she will bring the case to the District Court, if requested to do so, for a hearing before a District Court judge.
The Small Claims Registrar may call both parties to his/her office
The meeting will be informal and private.
The Small Claims Registrar will probably ask you and the respondent to outline the facts.
He/she may question both parties in an effort to clarify the issues.
If an agreement cannot be reached the Small Claims Registrar may there and then fix a date, time and location for a hearing of the claim before a judge of the District Court.
The date and time of the hearing and the address of the courthouse will be sent to both parties by post.
The District Court hearing
You must attend the District Court hearing.
Note: The court environment is formal. If you are not familiar with the court process, you should familiarise yourself with the layout, court practice and operation of the court in advance of the hearing.
On the court day remember to bring with you documentary evidence supporting your claim, for example letters, receipts, invoices.
The case will be heard in public as part of a normal sitting of the District Court.
Evidence must be given under oath or affirmation and the respondent can question you on matters relating to your claim (called cross-examination).
The judge may require the Small Claims Registrar to assist the court at the hearing.
When your case is called the Court Registrar will call you to the witness box to give evidence.
The Respondent will also be given an opportunity to give evidence.
Each witness can be subject to cross examination by the opposing party or their legal representatives.
Engaging a solicitor
You may engage a solicitor at your own cost. The respondent may do likewise.
The whole point of this procedure is that you can bring a claim without using a solicitor.
If you do engage one you will have to meet his/her costs even if you win your case.
Engaging a witness
You can bring a witness, but if expenses are incurred you will have to pay those yourself.
If you think it necessary, in your own interest, to have an expert's report you will have to pay for this. Expert reports and witness expenses must be paid for by you.
Likewise, if the respondent calls experts or witnesses he/she will be liable for their costs, if any.
If a witness does not agree to attend
The Small Claims Registrar will, if you request and pay the small requisite fee, prepare and issue a witness summons on your behalf requiring a witness to attend the hearing.
The Small Claims Registrar will arrange service of the summons.
You will be obliged to pay for any financial loss incurred by the witness in attending court, if claimed
If the matter is decided in your favour
If the matter is resolved in your favour, the respondent will be notified of the court's decision a few days after the hearing and will be allowed approximately 4 weeks to pay the amount awarded by the court.
Appealing the decision of the District Court
Both the applicant and the respondent have the right to appeal an order of the District Court to the Circuit Court.
Costs may be awarded by the Circuit Court but that is a matter for the individual Circuit Court judge to decide.