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

District Court Rules

Order: 53A

Small claims procedure : S.I. No. 17 of 2014

1 Definitions

1. In this Order-

“business” means a natural or legal person (including a company, partnership or natural person trading as a sole trader) who supplies, sells or purchases goods or services in the ordinary course of a business;

“business small claim” means a civil proceeding instituted under this Order by a business purchaser against a business vendor in relation to a contract in respect of any goods or service purchased, but excluding any claim—

      (a) arising from an agreement to which the Consumer Credit Act 1995 applies or to which the Consumer Credit Regulations apply, or

      (b) arising from an alleged breach of a leasing agreement, or

      (c) for debt or liquidated damages,

provided that in every such case the amount of the claim does not exceed the sum of €2,000;

“consumer” means a purchaser of goods or a service of a type ordinarily supplied for private use or consumption, where the purchaser does not make the contract in the course of a business and the vendor does make the contract in the course of a business;

“Consumer Credit Regulations” means the European Communities

(Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 281 of 2010); “consumer small claim” means a civil proceeding instituted under this Order

(1) in relation to a consumer contract, by the consumer against the vendor in respect of any goods or service purchased, which is not a claim—

      (a) arising from an agreement to which the Consumer Credit Act 1995 applies or to which the Consumer Credit Regulations apply, or

      (b) arising from an alleged breach of a leasing agreement,

(2) in relation to a tort, by the claimant (not being a body corporate) against the respondent in respect of minor damage caused to property belonging to the claimant but excluding personal injuries.

(3) in relation to a tenancy, by the tenant (not being a body corporate) against the landlord in respect of the non-return of any sum paid by the tenant as rent deposit or any such sum known as "key money" unless such claim is a dispute that may be referred to the Private Residential Tenancies Board under Part 6 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004,

provided that in every such case the amount of the claim does not exceed the sum of €2,000;

“Form”, unless the context otherwise requires, means a form set out in Schedule C, or such modification thereof as may be appropriate in any particular case;

“small claim”, when used without qualification, includes a business small claim and a consumer small claim;

“Small Claims Procedure” means the alternative method provided by this Order of commencing and dealing with a civil proceeding in respect of a small claim;

“Small Claims Registrar” means any District Court Clerk who for the time being is performing the duties and functions of a Small Claims Registrar.

2 Application to begin small claim proceedings

2. Whenever it is intended to begin civil proceedings in the District Court and the claim to which the proceedings relate is a small claim as defined in this Order, the person so intending (in this Order called “the claimant”) may, instead of issuing a claim notice, apply to the appropriate Small Claims Registrar to have the claim processed through the Small Claims Procedure, and the proceedings may then be commenced and dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this Order.

3 Filing application

3. An application to which rule 2 relates must be in writing, which may be in electronic form, in the Form 53A.01, Schedule C. The application, when completed, must be filed with the Small Claims Registrar together with any supporting documents required and the appropriate fee. The claimant may call to the Court office if assistance is needed in completing the form.

4 Recording of application

4. The Small Claims Registrar must, in respect of every such application received, record in writing the name and address of the claimant, the name and address of the person against whom the claim is made (in this Order called “the respondent”), the date of the application, the nature of the claim and any other relevant details. The Small Claims Registrar must consider the application and may take such steps as he or she deems necessary, whether by way of interviewing the claimant or otherwise, to record the full facts of the claim.

5 Rejection or acceptance of application

5. (1) Where the claim does not come within the scope of the Small Claims Procedure or the claimant fails to supply supporting documents sufficient to identify the proper respondent to his or her claim, the Small Claims Registrar must so inform the claimant and must refund the fee.

(2) If the Small Claims Registrar considers the claim to be appropriate to the Small Claims Procedure, he or she must serve by registered post (or, where permitted, by electronic mail in accordance with rule 15) on the respondent a Notice of Claim in the Form 53A.02, Schedule C (containing also Forms 53A.03 and 53A.04, Schedule C) together with a copy of the Notice of Claim.

6 Admission of small claim by respondent

6. (1) If the respondent admits the claim made against him and

      (a) agrees to pay the amount claimed, or

      (b) consents to judgment being given against him, or

      (c) wishes to pay the amount claimed by instalments,

he must complete, detach and return (by post or by hand or, where permitted, by electronic mail in accordance with rule 15) the Notice of Acceptance of Liability (Form 53A.03 Schedule C) to the Small Claims Registrar within 15 days after service of the Notice of Claim and copy claim on him. On receipt of such Notice the Registrar must inform the claimant accordingly.

(2) Where the respondent agrees to pay the amount claimed, he or she may forward to the Small Claims Registrar, together with Form 53A.03, Schedule C, payment by cheque, postal order(s) or money order(s), made payable to the claimant, for the full amount claimed. The Small Claims Registrar must transmit any such payment to the claimant. If the respondent's agreement to pay is conditional, (e.g. on condition that goods are returned by the claimant), the Small Claims Registrar must so inform the claimant and seek his agreement to comply with the respondent's requirement.

(3) Where the respondent consents to judgment being given against him, the Small Claims Registrar must proceed to judgment in the manner provided in rule 11.

(4) Where the respondent wishes to pay the amount claimed by instalments, the Small Claims Registrar must seek the consent of the claimant to the terms proposed by the respondent.

(5) The details of every agreement reached or settlement effected under this rule must be recorded in writing.

7 Small claim disputed by respondent

7. (1) If the respondent disputes the claim or wishes to make a counterclaim, he or she must complete, detach and return (by post or by hand or, where permitted, in electronic form in accordance with rule 15) the Notice of Dispute in the Form 53A.04 Schedule C to the Small Claims Registrar within 15 days after the service of the Notice of Claim and copy claim on him.

(2) Where a counterclaim is made the Notice of Dispute must be accompanied by the appropriate fee (or where the Notice of Dispute is sent electronically, the fee must be paid by cheque, postal order or money order to the Small Claims Registrar as soon as may be following transmission of the Notice of Dispute).

(3) The Small Claims Registrar must promptly furnish the claimant with a copy of any Notice of Dispute received from the respondent.

8 Settlement

8. (1) The Small Claims Registrar must use his best endeavours to settle the dispute(s) between the parties and in that connection may interview the parties and any other person whom either party may wish him to hear.

(2) Where a settlement is effected, particulars of the settlement must be recorded in writing.

(3) Where the terms of an agreement or settlement (including an agreement to pay by instalments) are not complied with, the Small Claims Registrar may, if requested so to do by the claimant, proceed to judgment against the other party.

(4) In cases other than those where payment by instalments has been agreed, he or she must proceed in accordance with the provisions of rule 11.

(5) If default is made in the payment of an instalment, Order 49, rule 14 applies, with any necessary modifications.

(6) Where a judgment is issued in a case to which this rule relates, the Small Claims Registrar must notify the party against whom it was issued accordingly and particulars of the request for and the issue and notification of such judgment must be recorded in writing.

9 Referral to Court for hearing

9. (1) Where the Small Claims Registrar fails to effect a settlement of the dispute between the parties, he or she must refer the matter to the District Court for hearing.

(2) The Registrar may at any time on his own initiative and must, if so requested by either party, refer any application or proceeding under the Small Claims Procedure to the District Court for hearing.

(3) On referral under this rule, the Small Claims Registrar must notify the parties of the place, date and time of hearing. He or she must make himself or herself available to assist the Court at the hearing, if requested by the Court so to do.

10 Liability for costs and expenses

10. The claimant and the respondent are liable for their own legal costs and witnesses’ expenses (if any) incurred in respect of any claim processed through the Small Claims Procedure.

11 Default by respondent

11. (1) Where the respondent fails to return either the Notice of Acceptance or Liability (Form 53A.03, Schedule C) or the Notice of Dispute (Form 53A.04, Schedule C) to the Small Claims Registrar within the time permitted and fails to contact the Small Claims Registrar within that period, he or she must be deemed to have admitted the claim.

(2) The claimant may then apply for judgment by swearing an affidavit of debt and lodging same with the Small Claims Registrar together with a requisition for judgment and a Small Claims judgment, and the Small Claims Registrar must proceed to judgment in accordance with the provisions of Order 47 as if the Notice of Claim and copy claim served under these Rules were a claim notice issued and served under Order 40.

(3) The forms of affidavit provided in Order 47 may, with necessary modifications, be used for that purpose.

(4) The claimant may call to the Court office if assistance is needed in completing the forms.

(5) When a judgment is issued under this rule, the Small Claims Registrar must notify the respondent accordingly, and particulars of such issue and notification must be recorded in writing.

12 Review of default judgment

12. The provisions of Order 47, Part 4 (which relates to the review of default judgments) apply, with necessary modifications, in the case of a judgment obtained under rule 8 or rule 11 and Order 47, Part 4 must be construed accordingly, save that in any application under that rule in relation to a default judgment so obtained the parties are liable for their own legal costs and witnesses’ expenses (if any).

13 No award of costs in small claims procedure

13. The Court may not award costs or witnesses' expenses to any party when determining any matter referred to it by a Small Claims Registrar under the Small Claims Procedure.

14 Forms of judgment may be used

14. A judgment granted under the Small Claims Procedure is a Small Claims judgment, and the forms of judgment at present in use may, with necessary modifications, be used when preparing the order of the Court.

15 Power of Small Claims Registrar to take affidavits and affirmations

15. (1) Every Small Claims Registrar has the power and is authorised by these Rules, to take affidavits and affirmations for the purposes of processing claims through the Small Claims Procedure and issuing judgments under the Small Claims Procedure.

(2) No fee is payable by any party in respect of any affidavit or affirmation made by him before a Small Claims Registrar under this rule.

16 Electronic filing

16. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, where suitable facilities for that purpose have been established by the Courts Service, and the Judge for the time being assigned to the relevant Court district (or in the case of the Dublin Metropolitan District, the President of the District Court) has so directed, the service of:

      (i) a Notice of Claim by the Small Claims Registrar on a respondent;

      (ii) a Notice of Acceptance of Liability by a respondent on the Small Claims Registrar;

      (iii) a Notice of Dispute by a respondent on the Small Claims Registrar

is valid if transmitted in electronic form as an electronic message to the respondent's electronic mail address (as identified on any letterhead or stationery of the respondent) or to the Small Claims Registrar's electronic mail address (as identified on a website operated by the Courts Service)

provided that where the sender is not satisfied that the electronic message was delivered to the intended recipient (by reason of any delivery status message received) or where no response has been received within a period of seven days following such transmission, then the electronic communication must be treated as if it had never been sent and the relevant document must be served as provided for by rules 5, 6 and 7 within eight days following such period.

(2) No document sent pursuant to the provisions of this rule is invalid or ineffective by reason only of the fact that it does not include a manuscript signature.

(3) Where a provision of this Order requires that a fee or payment be “lodged together with or forwarded together with” a document or that a document be “accompanied by” a fee, the fee or payment must be deemed to have been validly effected or made provided that it is sent to the Small Claims Registrar as soon as may be following the transmission in accordance with this rule of the document in question and accompanied by a written note quoting any reference or claim number given in respect of the small claim to which it relates.

(4) No document sent under the provisions of this rule is invalid or ineffective by reason only of the fact that any fee associated with the lodgment or delivery of the document is recorded or receipted otherwise than by impression of a stamp on the original document.