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Written Answers - Courts Service

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 446.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  the timeframe he envisages for the promulgation by him of a Statutory Instrument to raise the monetary caps on the jurisdiction of the District Court £5,000-€6,350 and the Circuit Court £30,000-€38,100, which were prescribed in 1991; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16053/12]

 447.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his views that the effect of inflation in the economy since 1991, when set against the monetary caps on the jurisdiction of the District Court £5,000-€6,350 and the Circuit Court £30,000-€38,100, which have remained the same since then, has the effect of excluding persons from effective access to justice, particularly when persons live in areas that are distant from Circuit Court premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16054/12]

 448.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  if he will publish all representations made to him personally, or to officials of his Department, by participants in the insurance industry, or by lobbyists acting for participants in the insurance industry, including documents received and notes of meetings, regarding the monetary caps on the jurisdiction of the District Court and the Circuit Courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16055/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 446 to 448, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy has noted, the current monetary jurisdictional limits were set in 1991 at (euro equivalents of) €38,092 and €6,384 for the Circuit and District Courts respectively. Although provision was made, under sections 13 and 14 of the Courts and Court Officers Act 2002, to increase the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court to €100,000 and the District Court to €20,000, these were never commenced by previous Governments. I am informed that concerns were expressed that an increase in monetary jurisdiction could have the effect of increasing the level of court awards in personal injury cases. Moreover, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board was then in the process of being established and has, since its establishment in 2004, provided a speedy and cost effective system of dealing with compensation for victims of workplace, motor and public liability accidents. However, two reports on legal costs highlighted the need to review the jurisdiction although that was because of the increased costs associated with taking cases in the High Court rather than the distance involved for litigants which the Deputy mentions.

I can assure the Deputy that since my appointment neither I nor my officials have received any representations or attended any meetings on this subject. I agree with the Deputy that the [889]current limits appear to be out of line with current monetary values and the matter is being examined by my Department. It is my intention to progress the matter as soon as possible.


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