Notice from President of the High Court, Mary Irvine Regarding Changes to Physical Hearings for Certain Categories of Cases Commencing 28 June

Practitioners, please note the following:
Having regard to recent Covid-19 statistics, the projected progress of the national vaccination programme and the Government’s proposal to ease current Covid restrictions over the coming weeks, the High Court, with the agreement of the Courts Service, is satisfied that it can safely make some adjustments to its programme of work for the Trinity term. Please note that the proposed adjustments will relate solely to the manner in which the cases listed below will be heard and will only commence as and from the 28th June 2021. 

i. Personal injuries actions in Dublin.

ii. Personal injuries actions at the following provincial venues: Galway (28th June-9th July) and Cork (12th July-23rd July)

iii. Circuit Appeals at Galway (12th-16th July), Castlebar (19th-23rd July), Letterkenny: 26th-30th July and Dundalk (26th-30th July).

iv. Cork Non Jury actions: (28thJune-9th July)


Insofar as the four categories of work above mentioned are concerned the following procedures and health and safety precautions will apply:

1. The list each day will be called over remotely.

2. Whilst parties with cases in the above categories are strongly encouraged to opt for a remote hearing, physical hearings of non urgent cases may resume.  However, witnesses should be kept to a minimum and should only attend the courtroom when their presence is required.

3. Pretrial consultations and negotiations should be held well in advance of the proposed hearing date to ensure that they can be carried out safely and in a socially distanced manner. They should not be left until the hearing date because it is not possible to provide facilities where these can be safely carried out in court premises.

4. Parties and their legal representatives shall only enter the premises in which the court is located when the case is due to start and all efforts at negotiation have failed. No further time will be allowed for negotiation at that point. As soon as proceedings conclude, the parties, their witnesses and legal advisors should leave the court precincts promptly.

5. All current public health guidance and the Court’s own Practice Directions regarding social distancing and the wearing of face coverings continue to apply.

The above changes do not apply to any cases listed for hearing prior to the 28th June and are subject to alteration should there be any change in Covid-19 public health guidance.

Given the exceptionally high settlement rate of personal injuries actions and the prohibition on parties and their representatives entering upon the court premises unless a case is due to commence, the risks attendant upon increasing the footfall within the Four Courts premises to permit the easing of Covid-19 restrictions insofar as they impact on this list is considered reasonable in all of the circumstances.

Mary Irvine
President of the High Court
1st June 2021

This notice is available to read on the Courts Service Website here.