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Initiating your case

You may issue various types of proceedings in the Central Office, using one of the originating documents listed:-

Originating documents:
plenary summons
summary summons
special summons
personal injury summons
petition
originating notice of motion

The types of document you use to begin your High Court case depend on the type of action you are bringing.

So, for example, if your action is seeking damages for breach of contract, you should start the action by issuing a plenary summons in the Central Office of the High Court.

You will get a case record number when you issue your proceedings. All subsequent documents that are filed in the case (for example, pleadings, motions, affidavits) must have this number marked on them.

The practice and procedure of the High Court is regulated mainly by the Rules of the Superior Court 1986 and by practice directions issued by the President of the High Court. You (if you are conducting our own case) or your legal representative must come to the Central Office of the High Court, Four Courts in person to issue or file any documents in your case.

Plenary summons:

Type of case / action

  1. damages for breach of contract.
  2. damages for tort (for example, negligence, trespass, nuisance, defamation).
  3. Probate action, seeking the grant or recall of probate or letters of administration or similar relief.
  4. specific performance of contracts between vendors and purchasers of land, including contracts for leases and also the specific performance of any other contracts in respect of which the court would decree performance.
  5. dissolution of partnership or the taking of partnerships or other accounts.
  6. rescission of a contract.
  7. injunctive relief seeking an order directing a party to do or refrain from doing a particular act.
  8. challenge to the validity of any legislation.

 

Summary summons:

Type of case / action

  1. actions where the plaintiff seeks only to recover a debt or liquidated demand in money payable by the defendant, with or without interest, arising -

    (a) upon a contract, express or implied (as, for instance on a bill of exchange, promissory note, or cheque, or other simple contract debt); or
    (b) on a bond or contract under seal for payment of a liquidated amount of money; or
    (c) on a statute where the sum sought to be recovered is a fixed sum of money or in the nature of a debt other than a penalty; or
    (d) on a guarantee, whether under seal or not, where the claim against the principal is in respect of a debt or liquidated demand only; or
    (e) on a trust.

  2. actions where a landlord seeks to recover possession of land, with or without a claim for rent or mesne profits -

    (a) against a tenant whose term has expired or has been duly determined by notice to quit; or

    (b) for non-payment of rent.

    Claims in which the plaintiff in the first instance desires to have an account taken.

  3. Procedure by summary summons may be adopted by consent of all parties in the case of a claim not coming within any of the classes in Rule 1.

 

Special summons:

Type of case / action

  1. The administration of the real or personal estate of a deceased person, or the administration of the trust of any deed or instrument save where there is a charge of wilful default or breach of trust.
  2. The determination of any question affecting the rights or interests of any person claiming to be creditor, devisee, legatee, next-of-kin or heir-at-law of a deceased person, or cestui que trust under the trust of any deed or instrument, or claiming by assignment or otherwise under any such person.
  3. The payment into court of any money in the hands of executors, administrators or trustees.
  4. A direction to any executors, or administrators or trustees to do or abstain from doing any particular act in their character as such executors or administrators or trustees (including the furnishing and vouching of accounts).
  5. The approval of any sale, purchase, compromise, or other transaction in connection with the administration of any estate or trust.
  6. The determination of any question arising in the administration of any estate or trust or the ascertainment of any class of creditors, legatees, devisees, next-of-kin, or others.
  7. The determination of any question of construction arising under any deed, will, or other written instrument, and a declaration of the rights of the persons interested.
  8. The determination, under the Finance Act, 1894, section 14 (2), of a dispute as to the proportion of estate duty to be borne by any property or person.
  9. Any relief under the Settled Land Acts, 1882 to 1890, or the Conveyancing Acts, 1881 to 1911.
  10. Whereupon no proceeding is pending by reason whereof the infant is a ward of court, an application as to any of the following matters:-


    (a) sections 12, 16 and 17 of the Infants Property Act, 1830, as extended to Ireland by the Infants Property (Ireland) Act, 1935; section 4 of the Leasing Powers Act for Religious Worship in Ireland, 1855, as extended by the Glebe Lands (Ireland) Act, 1875, and the Leases for Schools (Ireland) Act, 1881

    (b) the settlement of any property of an infant on marriage under the Infants Settlements Act, 1855, as extended to Ireland by the Infants Settlements (Ireland) Act, 1860;

    (c) the guardianship, care and maintenance or advancement of any infant.

  11. The appointment of a trustee or a new trustee with or without a vesting or other consequential order; or a vesting order or other order consequential on the appointment of a new trustee, whether the appointment is made by the court or out of court; or a vesting or other consequential order in any case where a judgement or order has been given or made for the sale, conveyance or transfer of any land or stock; or a vesting order under the Trustee Act, 1893, section 39; or an order directing a person to convey.
  12. The determination of any question under the Vendor and Purchaser Act, 1874, section 9.
  13. Any relief under the Married Women's Status Act, 1957 section 12.
  14. Any relief under the Trustee Act, 1893, sections 42 or 44.
  15. Sale, delivery of possession by a mortgagor, or redemption; reconveyance, or delivery of possession by a mortgagee.
  16. Any relief in respect of funds lodged in court pursuant to the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, section 69.
  17. An interpleader order.
  18. Applications in connection with the lodgement in court of any funds, the investment of any funds lodged in court, or the payment out of any funds lodged in court, whether pursuant to the provisions of any statute or otherwise; where there is no pending proceedings in respect thereof and no other procedure prescribed or required by these rules.
  19. Applications for the taxation and delivery of bills of costs and for the delivery by any solicitor of deeds, documents and papers where there is no pending proceeding in which the application may be made.
  20. Any other proceeding in which procedure by special summons is required or authorised by the Rules of the Superior Courts one such being family law proceedings which include:

    (a) Any proceeding pursuant to section 36 of the Family Law Act, 1995 or to that section as applied by section 44 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996

    (b) An application pursuant to section 3 of the Adoption Act, 1974 or pursuant to section 3 of the Adoption Act, 1988.

    (c) An application pursuant to section 3(8), 4, 5 or 9 of the Family Home Protection Act, 1976.

    (d) Any application pursuant to section 6 or 7 of the Family Law Act, 1981.

    (e) Any proceeding pursuant to the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964, the Family Law (Maintenance of Spouses and Children) Act, 1976 or pursuant to the Domestic Violence Act, 1996 which has been instituted and maintained in the High Court pursuant to Article 34.3.1 of the Constitution.

    (f) An application for a decree of judicial separation pursuant to section 3 of the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989 and any preliminary or ancillary application relating thereto under Part II of the Family Law Act, 1995.

    (g) Any proceeding transferred to the High Court pursuant to section 31(3) of the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989.

    (h) An application for a decree of divorce pursuant to section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996 and any preliminary or ancillary application relating thereto under Part III thereof

    (i) An application to institute proceedings for relief subsequent to a divorce or separation outside the State pursuant to section 23 of the Family Law Act, 1995.

    (j) An application pursuant to section 15(A) or section 25 of the Family Law Act, 1995 or pursuant to section 18 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996.

    (k) An application for a declaration as to marital status under Part IV of the Family Law Act, 1995 (see order 70A of the Rules of the Superior Courts).

  21. Any other proceeding which is required or authorised by statute to be brought in a summary manner and for which no other procedure is prescribed by the Rules of the Superior Courts - one such being in respect of claims under certain sections of the Succession Act, 1965.
  22. Such other matters as the court may think fit to dispose of by special summons. 

Personal injury summons:

The first step in a claim for personal injury is to apply to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). A personal injury summons can be issued when the PIAB provides a certificate stating they are releasing the claim.

Order 1A Rules of the Superior Courts provides the information and the procedure to be followed when issuing a personal injury summons. Form 1 in Appendix CC to Rules of the Superior Courts sets out the format of the personal injury summons.

Petition:

Type of case / action

  1. Certain applications under the Companies Act 2014 for example where an order is sought to wind up a company usually presented by a creditor of the company or to restore a company to the Register of Companies it having been struck off for failure to file returns or an order to appoint an examiner to a company. (see orders 74, 74A & 75 of the Rules of the Superior Courts 1986 as amended) .
  2. Where a decree of nullity of marriage is sought.

Originating notice of motion:

Type of case / action

  1. An application under section 27 of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1976 seeking an order prohibiting the unauthorised development or use of lands.
  2. An application for judicial review where leave of the court has been obtained to bring such application.
  3. Bail applications.
  4. Applications under certain sections of the Companies Act 2014 (see order 75 of the Rules of the Superior Courts as amended).
  5. Appeals to the High Court pursuant to section 42(1) Section 42(2) or section 42(3) of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (see order 130 of the Rules of the Superior Courts - S.I. No. 325 of 1998).
  6. Applications under the Solicitors Acts 1954 - 1990.

 

 

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This page updated: 29 November 2016