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Circuit Court - Issuing civil proceedings

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Circuit court offices

The Civil Bill / Personal Injury Summons

In the Circuit Court civil proceedings are started by issuing and serving a Civil Bill or Personal Injury Summons.

There are different types of Civil Bill/Personal Injury Summons.

Some examples are:

Personal Injury Summons
Ordinary Civil Bill
Equity Civil Bill
Ejectment Civil Bill
Landlord and Tenant Civil Bill
Succession Law Civil Bill
Testamentary Civil Bill

The Civil Bill/Personal Injury Summons will contain an endorsement of claim which states the details of what is being claimed and alleged.

There is stamp duty payable on each Civil Bill/Personal Injury Summons.

Service of Civil Bills/Personal Injury Summons

See Order 11 of the Circuit Court Rules,  Courts Act 1964 (s.7) and Companies Act 1963.


The Civil Bill/Personal Injury Summons must contain the following information:

  • A title. The plaintiff's name and the defendant's name make up the title of the proceedings.
  • The bill should also say what kind of civil bill/personal injury summons it is, for example 'Ordinary Civil Bill'.
  • A description of the parties. The civil bill/personal injury summons must state the surname, first name, the residence or place of business and the occupation of the plaintiff and the defendant.
  • A statement of the claim. The civil bill/personal injury summons must state the nature, extent and grounds of the plaintiff's claim against the defendant.  It should clearly set out the allegations that are being made by the plaintiff and the damage that the plaintiff suffered.  It should also state what the plaintiff is seeking from the court.
  • The civil bill/personal injury summons must recite the appropriate circuit in which the claim is being brought.
  • The civil bill/personal injury summons must be dated and signed by the plaintiff or his/her solicitor.
  • In the case of a personal injury case (except in the case of medical negligence), in the personal injury summons there must be a declaration that the plaintiff has been to Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and has their authorisation to proceed with the application to court. This declaration should be the first point in the endorsement of claim. It should state the date the certificate from PIAB was granted and the number of the certificate. The Personal Injury Summons must also state the PPS number of the plaintiff. If the plaintiff does not have a PPS number the Personal Injury Summons must state this.

N.B. Personal Injuries Assessment Board

If your claim is for personal injuries, you cannot issue proceedings (except in the case of medical negligence) without first applying to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board to have your claim dealt with by PIAB. If you are not happy with the PIAB assessment, they can the authorise you to issue your proceedings in the appropriate court. They will issue you with a certificate. You do not need to go to a solicitor to make the application to PIAB but you may do so if you wish.

Entering an appearance

The civil bill/personal injury summons gives 10 days to enter an appearance. Entering an appearance does not mean that the defendant must appear in court. It simply means that he/she must indicate in writing that he/she intends to defend thecase. The time limit of10 days is strict but it is usually possible to enter an appearance after the 10 days have expired, provided the plaintiff agrees (you must get a letter of consent from the plaintiff).

To enter an appearance, the defendant must lodge a short form in the Circuit Court office containing the following information:

  • The name and record number of the case
  • the defendant's name and address and
  • the name and address of his/her solicitor if applicable.

There is no fee for entering an appearance.

If you have a solicitor, he/she can enter an appearance for you.

Entering a defence

After an appearance is entered the defendant has a further period of 10 days in which to enter a defence. This is done by serving a (statement) defence on the plaintiff. The Circuit Court office does not accept the defence at this stage.

Filing a defence and counterclaim

When a defence is entered with counterclaim, this document is taken in by the Circuit Court office. It must have stamp duty on it. A copy of this should also be served by the defendant on the plaintiff.


The information provided on this page is for reference only. If you need legal advice you should consult a solicitor.

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