The Small Claims Court in Ireland was designed as a method of resolving disputes involving as the name suggests small claims thereby reducing the burden on the courts system and to resolve minor matters without the necessity of engaging a Solicitor.
The limit under which a claim may be brought is €2000 and the Small Claims Court can be used to resolve certain disputes such as those involving consumer complaints, minor damage to property and certain disputes involving business not exceeding the amount mentioned however claims involving matters such as lease agreements or debt collection may not be dealt with by the Small Claims Court.
The Court has been used to great effect and is an efficient manner of achieving a satisfactory resolution of cases which although very important to the claimant are generally minor in nature.
Typically bringing a claim involves filling out the claim form which can be filled out online or manually and filed with the Small Claims Registrar in your local Court Office together with fee of €25.
The Court Registrar will then send a copy of the claim form to the party to whom your action is against (the Respondent) and this will include the details of your grievance and all necessary details.
The Respondent then m ay or may not respond to the claim within the required timeframe but if a response is received, the Registrar will notify you of the Respondents reply.
If the Respondent does not contest or is deemed not to contest your claim, a decision and Court Order may then be issued in your favour, however if the Respondent does dispute the claim that you have made then if the matter has not been resolved with the assistance of the Small Claims Registrar, the matter may proceed to a District Court hearing before a Judge at which either or both parties may be legally represented or represent themselves.
For legal advice contact:
Joseph O’Hara, O’Hara Solicitors, Cross Street, Athenry, Co Galway