Changes in the Courts Jurisdiction

As and from the 3rd of February 2014 the financial jurisdictional limit of the District Court shall be increased from 6,348.69 euro to 15,000 euro. Consequentially the financial jurisdictional limit of the Circuit Court shall be increased also. It will now deal with all cases from 15,001 euro up to 75,000 euro for all cases with one exception, namely personal injury cases. The jurisdictional limit for personal injury cases is limited to 60,000 euro. What the rationale is for an exception to be made in respect of personal injury case, I do not know. It makes no sense for such a distinction to be made. If the limit for the Circuit Court is 75,000 euro then it should be that limit across the board.

This chance has been in the pipe line for years.  It beggars belief why they have chosen to do it now.  They have been reducing the staff in the District Court and Circuit Court.  The existing District Court and Circuit Court Staff are already under enormous pressure and the Courts themselves have significant backlogs.  To now decide to increase the jurisdictions of these Courts defies logic.  It will lead to further delays in a system that is already backlogged. 

I am presuming that the thinking behind the Ministers move to increase the jurisdictional limits is that it will lead to a decrease in legal costs.  This may very well be the case although I am not entirely certain about it.  However, it will in all likelihood lead to an increase in the level of the awards.  While the Insurance Companies may be happy that they have to pay less legal costs, it will not necessarily follow that the claim is going to cost them less.  My own view is that the delays will be greater and the overall cost of claims will increased.