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Rules of the Superior Courts

Order: 70

Matrimonial causes and matters

The below amendment(s) have been made to this instrument which can be viewed by clicking on the link(s):

No70-S.I. No. 97 Of 1990: Rules Of The Superior Courts (No. 1), 1990.
No70-S.I. No. 307 Of 2013: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Lugano Convention, Maintenance And Service) 2013


I. Petition.

1. Proceedings in matrimonial causes and matters shall be commenced by filing a petition, which shall be addressed to the High Court and which shall be in the Form No. 1 Appendix L. (The forms hereinafter referred to in this Order are the forms set forth in said Appendix).

2. Every petition by which such proceedings shall be commenced shall state the domicile of the parties at the respective dates of the marriage and of the petition, the place of the marriage, the address and description of each party, and the number of children of the marriage.

3. Every petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit made by the petitioner, verifying the facts of which he or she has personal knowledge, and deposing as to belief in the truth of the other facts alleged in the petition and such affidavit shall be filed with the petition.

4. In cases where the petitioner is seeking a decree of nullity of marriage, or of divorce a mensa et thoro, the petitioner's affidavit filed with his or her petition, shall further state that no collusion or connivance exists between the petitioner and the other party to the marriage or alleged marriage, and in cases where the petitioner is seeking a decree for restitution of conjugal rights the affidavit filed with the petition, shall further state sufficient facts to show that a written demand for cohabitation and restitution of conjugal rights has been made by the petitioner upon the party to be cited, and that after a reasonable opportunity for compliance therewith, such cohabitation and restitution of conjugal rights has been withheld.

II. Citation.

5. Every petitioner who files a petition and affidavit shall forthwith extract a citation, under seal of the Court, for service on each respondent in the cause.

6. Every citation shall be in the Form No. 2, and the party extracting the same, or his solicitor, shall take it up, together with a praecipe and get the citation signed. The praecipe shall contain the registered place of business of the solicitor depositing same, or if there be no solicitor, an address for service within the jurisdiction where notices, pleadings, orders, warrants, and other documents may be left for such party.

III. Service.

7. Citations shall be served personally when that can be done.

8. Service of a citation shall be effected by personally delivering a true copy of the citation to the party cited, and producing the original, if required.

9. To every person served with a citation shall be delivered, together with the copy of the citation, a certified copy of the petition under seal of the Court.

10. In cases where personal service cannot be effected, application may be made by motion to the Court to substitute some other mode of service.

11. After service has been effected the citation, with a certificate of service in the Form No. 3 indorsed thereon, shall be forthwith filed in the Central Office.

12. When it is ordered that a citation shall be advertised, the newspapers containing the advertisement shall be filed in the Central Office with the citation.

13. Rules 7 to 12, so far as they relate to the service of citations, shall apply to the service of all other documents requiring personal service.

14. A petitioner may not proceed, after having extracted a citation, until an appearance shall have been entered by or on behalf of the respondents, or it shall be shown by affidavit, filed in the Central Office, that they have been duly cited and have not appeared.

15. The citation referred to in the affidavit of service shall be annexed to such affidavits, and marked by the person before whom the same is sworn. The affidavit of service of a citation shall be in the Form No. 4.

IV. Appearance.

16. All appearances to citations shall be entered in the Central Office in a book provided for that purpose, and shall be in the Form No. 5.

17. An appearance may be entered at any time before a proceeding has been taken in default, or afterwards by leave of the Court, and every appearance shall contain the registered place of business of the solicitor entering same, or, if there be no solicitor, an address for service as prescribed by rule 6.

18. If a party cited wishes to raise any question as to the jurisdiction of the Court; he shall enter an appearance under protest, and within eight days file in the Central Office his act on petition in extension of such protest, and on the same day deliver a copy thereof to the petitioner, or to his solicitor. After the entry of an absolute appearance to the citation, a party cited cannot raise any objection as to jurisdiction.

V. Intervener.

19. Application for leave to intervene in any cause shall be made to the Court, by motion, supported by affidavit, and every party intervening shall join in the proceedings at the stage in which he finds them, unless it is otherwise ordered by the Court but the Court may give liberty to a party intervening to plead, as if he was a party to the proceedings originally.

VI. Answer.

20. Each respondent who has entered an appearance may within twenty-eight days after service of the citation on him file in the Central Office an answer to the petition, in the Form No. 6.

21. Each respondent shall on the day he files an answer deliver a copy thereof to the petitioner, or to his solicitor.

22. Every answer which contains matter other than a simple denial of the facts stated in the petition, shall be accompanied by an affidavit made by the respondent, verifying such other or additional matter, so far as he has personal knowledge thereof, and deposing as to his belief in the truth of the rest of such other or additional matter, and such affidavit shall be filed with the answer.

23. In cases involving a decree of nullity of marriage, or of divorce a mensa et thoro, the respondent who is husband or wife of the petitioner, shall in the affidavit filed with the answer, further state that there is not any collusion or connivance between the deponent and the petitioner.

VII. Further pleadings.

24. Within fourteen days from the filing and delivery of the answer the petitioner may file a reply thereto, and no further pleading shall be allowed without leave of the Court.

25. A copy of every reply and subsequent pleading shall on the day the same is filed be delivered to the opposite parties or to their solicitors.

VIII. General rules as to pleadings.

26. Either party desiring to alter or amend any pleading shall apply to the Master by motion on notice for permission to do so, unless the alteration or amendment be merely verbal, or in the nature of a clerical error, in which case the application may be made ex parte.

27. When a petition, answer, or other pleading has been ordered to be altered or amended, the time for filing and delivering a copy of the next pleading shall be reckoned from the time of the order having been complied with.

28. A copy of every pleading showing the alterations and amendments made therein shall be delivered to the opposite parties on the day such alterations and amendments are made in the pleading filed in the Central Office; and the opposite parties, if they have already pleaded, shall be at liberty to amend such pleading within four days after such delivery, or such further time as may be allowed for the purpose.

29. If either party in the cause fail to file or deliver a copy of the answer, reply, or other pleading, or to alter or amend the same, or to deliver a copy of any altered or amended pleading, within the time allowed for the purpose, the party to whom the copy of such answer, reply, or other pleading or altered or amended pleading, ought to have been delivered, shall not be bound to receive it, and such answer, reply, or other pleading, shall not be filed, or be treated or considered as having been filed, or be altered or amended, unless by order of the Court. The expense of obtaining such order shall fall on the party applying for it, unless the Court shall otherwise direct.

30. Applications for further particulars of matters pleaded shall be made to the Court by motion on notice.

31. No pleading in any matrimonial cause or matter except the petition by which the proceedings shall be commenced shall be filed, delivered, or amended in the Long vacation unless directed by the Court, but every such petition may be delivered in the Long vacation without any order.

IX. Medical inspection.

32. (1) In proceedings for nullity on the ground of impotence or incapacity, the petitioner shall, after the filing of the last pleading or, if no appearance has been entered or answer filed, after the expiration of the time allowed for entering an appearance or filing an answer (as the case may be), apply to the Master to determine whether medical inspectors should be appointed to examine the parties.

(2) Upon such application the Master may appoint two medical inspectors to examine the parties and report to the Court the result of such examination.

(3) At the hearing of any such proceedings the Court may appoint a medical inspector or two medical inspectors to examine any party who has not been examined or to examine further any party who has been examined, and to report to the Court the result of such examination.

(4) In proceedings for nullity on the ground that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the wilful refusal of the respondent to do so, either party may, after the filing of the last pleading, apply to the Master for the appointment of medical inspectors to examine the parties and to report to the Court the result of such examination. Upon such application the Master shall appoint two medical inspectors and either of the parties shall be at liberty to submit himself for examination to one or both of the inspectors so appointed.

(5) The party on whose application medical inspectors have been appointed as aforesaid shall cause notice of the time and place of the examination to be given to the other party.

(6) Every examination shall be held at the consulting rooms of one of the medical inspectors so appointed as aforesaid or at some other convenient place to be specified in the order appointing them.

(7) A Registrar shall attend at the place fixed for the examination and call upon the solicitors for the parties to identify the parties to be examined. When the parties have been identified, the Registrar shall certify such identification in the Form No. 8, and shall administer an oath in the Form No. 9 to the medical inspectors who shall sign the same. The certificate of identification and oath shall be filed by the Registrar in the Central Office.

(8) Every report made under this rule shall be sent by prepaid registered post by the medical inspectors to the Master at theFour Courts, Dublin, and thereupon shall be filed in the Central Office, and either party shall be entitled to obtain a copy thereof upon payment of the prescribed fee.

X. Trial or hearing.

33. No cause shall be called on for trial or hearing until after the expiration of ten days from the day when the application to settle the mode of trial shall have been heard, unless by consent or by special order.

34. Any respondent in the cause, after entering an appearance, without filing an answer to the petition in the principal cause, may be heard in respect of any question as to costs.

35. The Court may, on the trial or hearing of any cause, order an adjournment to such time and subject to such conditions as to costs and otherwise as it shall think fit.

XI. Evidence taken by affidavit.

36. When the Court has directed that all or any of the facts set forth in the pleadings be proved by affidavits, such affidavits shall be filed in the Central Office within eight days from the time when such direction was given, unless the Court shall otherwise direct.

37. Counter-affidavits as to any facts to be proved by affidavit may be filed within eight days from the filing of the affidavits which they are intended to answer.

38. Copies of all affidavits shall on the day when the same are filed be delivered to the other parties to be heard on the trial or hearing of the cause, or to their solicitors.

39. Affidavits in reply to counter-affidavits shall not be filed without permission of the Court.

40. The Court may, on the application of any party, order the attendance for cross-examination of any person making an affidavit.

XII. Proceedings by petition.

41. Any party to a cause who has entered an appearance may apply on motion to the Court to be heard on his petition touching any collateral questions which may arise in a suit.

42. The party to whom leave has been given to be heard on his petition shall within eight days file his act on petition in the Central Office, and on the same day deliver a copy thereof to such parties in the cause as are required to answer thereto.

43. Each party to whom a copy of an act on petition is delivered shall within eight days after receiving the same file his answer thereto in the Central Office, and on the same day deliver a copy thereof to the opposite party, and the same course shall be pursued with respect to any subsequent pleading. But no pleading after the reply shall be allowed without leave of the Court.

44. The parties to the act on petition respectively, within eight days from that on which the last pleading is filed, shall (unless any different mode of proof shall be directed by the Court) file in the Central Office such affidavit and other proofs as may be necessary in support of their several averments.

45. After the time for filing affidavits and proofs has expired, unless any different mode of proof shall have been directed by the Court, the party filing the act on petition shall set down the petition for hearing; and in the event of his failing to do so within amonth any party who has filed an answer thereto may set the same down for hearing, and the petition will be heard by the Court without a jury.

46. The order directing any different mode of proof mentioned in rules 44 and 45 shall provide for the hearing of the petition.

XIII. Alimony.

47. The wife, being the petitioner in a cause, may apply for alimony pending suit by motion on notice supported by affidavit at any time after the citation has been duly served on the husband or after order made by the Court to dispense with such service, provided the factum of marriage between the parties is established by affidavit previously filed.

48. The wife, being the respondent in a cause after having entered an appearance may also apply by motion on notice supported by affidavit for alimony pending suit.

49. The husband shall within eight days after the service of the notice of motion and copy of the affidavit in support thereof file an affidavit in answer and give notice of the filing thereof to the wife.

50. The husband, being respondent in the cause, shall enter an appearance before he can file an affidavit in answer to an application for alimony.

51. If the wife is not satisfied with the sufficiency of the husband's affidavit in answer, she may apply to the Court by motion to order him to give a further and fuller affidavit in answer or to order his attendance on the hearing of the motion for the purpose of being examined thereon.

52. In case the affidavit in answer of the husband alleges that the wife has property of her own, she may within eight days after notice of filing thereof, file an affidavit in reply to that allegation, but the husband shall not be at liberty to file an affidavit by way of rejoinder without permission of the Court.

53. If no affidavit in answer is filed by the husband the wife may proceed with the motion or may apply to the Court by motion to order his attendance at the hearing thereof for the purpose of being examined thereon.

54. A wife who has obtained a final decree a mensa et thoro may apply to the Court by motion for an allotment of permanent alimony, provided that she shall eight days at least before making such application give notice thereof to the husband or his solicitor.

55. A wife may at any time after alimony has been allotted to her, whether alimony pending suit or permanent alimony, apply by motion for an increase of the alimony allotted by reason of the increased faculties of the husband or by the reduction of her own faculties, or a husband may apply by motion for a diminution of the alimony allotted by reason of reduced faculties or ofthe wife's increased faculties, and the course of proceeding in such cases shall be the same as required by this Order in respect of the original application for alimony and the allotment thereof so far as the same are applicable.

56. Permanent alimony shall, unless otherwise ordered, commence and be computed from the date of the final decree of the Court.

57. Alimony pending suit and also permanent alimony shall be paid to the wife or to some person to be nominated in writing by her and approved of by the Court as trustee on her behalf.

XIV. Restitution of conjugal rights.

58. At any time after the commencement of proceedings for restitution of conjugal rights the respondent may apply to the Court for an order to stay the proceedings in the cause by reason that he is willing to resume or to return to cohabitation with the petitioner.

XV. Guardians of infants.

59. An infant may elect any one or more of his next-of-kin as guardian, for the purpose of proceeding on his behalf as petitioner, respondent, or intervener in a cause.

60. The necessary instrument of election shall be filed in the Central Office before the guardian elected can be permitted to extract a citation or to enter an appearance on behalf of the infant.

61. Where an infant has not elected a guardian as aforesaid, the Court shall assign a guardian to the infant for such suit.

XVI. Attachment and Sequestration.

62. In all matrimonial causes and matters, orders of attachment and orders of sequestration are to be prepared by the party at whose instance the order for the issue thereof has been obtained or the party applying for the issue thereof and taken to the Central Office with an attested copy of the order if made and a praecipe for the order and when approved or signed by the Master or the Registrar shall be sealed and it shall not be necessary for the Judge to seal such orders.

63. Any person in custody under an order of attachment may apply for his discharge to the Court.

XVII. Notices.

64. All notices required by this Order or by the practice of the Court, shall be signed by the party, or by his solicitor.

XVIII. Service of pleadings, notices, &c.

65. It shall be sufficient to leave all pleadings, notices and other documents, which by this Order are required to be given or delivered to the opposite parties in the cause, or to their solicitors, and personal services of which is not expressly required, at the registered place of business or address for service furnished as aforesaid by the petitioner and respondent respectively.

66. Where it is necessary to give notice of any motion to be made to the Court, such notice shall be served on the opposite parties who have entered an appearance two clear days previously to the hearing of such motion, and a copy of the notice soserved shall be filed in the Central Office, but no proof of the service of the notice will be required, unless by direction of theCourt.

67. If an order be obtained on motion without due notice to the opposite parties, such order shall be rescinded on the application of the parties upon whom the notice should have been served; and the expense of and arising from the rescinding of such order shall fall on the party who obtained it, unless the Court shall otherwise direct.

68. When it is necessary to serve personally any judgement or order, the original judgement or order, or an attested copy thereof, shall be produced to the party served, and annexed to the affidavit of service.

XIX. Change of solicitor.

69. A party may obtain an order to change his or her solicitor, upon application to the Master.

70. In case the former solicitor neglects to file his bill of costs for taxation at the time required by the order served upon him, theparty may, with the sanction of the Court, proceed in the cause by the new solicitor, without previous payment of such costs.

XX. Motion papers.

71. Motion papers are to set forth the style and object of, and the names and descriptions of the parties to, the cause or proceeding before the Court; the proceedings already had in the cause, and the dates of the same; the prayer of the party on whose behalf the motion is made, and briefly the circumstances on which it is founded.

72. If the motion papers tendered are deficient in any of the above particulars, the same shall not be received without permission of the Master.

73. The motion paper and the affidavit in support thereof and all original documents referred to in such affidavits shall be filed and left in the Central Office.

74. All bills of cost for business in matrimonial causes and matters shall be taxed by the Taxing Master.

75. After directions have been given as to the mode of hearing of trial of a cause, or in an earlier stage of a cause, where special circumstances are shown, the Court may, on the application by motion of a wife who is a petitioner or who has entered an appearance (unless the husband shall prove that the wife has sufficient separate estate or show other good reason) make an order directing him to pay her costs of the cause up to the date of such application, and her further costs de die in diem upto the trial or hearing, and directing the Taxing Master to tax such costs and at the time of such taxation (if directions as to the mode of hearing or trial have been given before such taxation) to ascertain and certify what is a sufficient sum of money to be paid into Court or what is a sufficient security to be given by the husband to cover the costs of the wife of and incidental to the hearing or trial of the cause.

76. In all cases in which the Court at the hearing of a cause condemns any party to the suit in costs, the solicitor of the party to whom such costs are to be paid may forthwith lodge his bill of costs and obtain an appointment for the taxation, provided that such taxation shall not take place before the time allowed for moving for a new trial shall have expired.

77. When the Taxing Master shall have signed his certificate of taxation or as to security, it may be lodged by the party obtaining the same in the Central Office, and the Master shall at once issue an order for payment of the amount or giving of security within seven days, and this order shall be served on the party liable or his solicitor, but unless by leave of the Court no sequestration to enforce such payment shall be issued.

78. When on the hearing or trial of a cause the decision of the Court or the verdict of the jury is against the wife, no costs of the wife of and incidental to such hearing or trial shall be allowed as against the husband, except such as shall be applied for, and ordered to be allowed by the Court at the time of such hearing or trial.

79. Where a party served with a citation does not appear within the time limited for appearance, upon the filing by the petitioner of a proper affidavit of service, the cause may proceed as if such party had appeared, but any pleadings or motions required to be served on such party shall be filed with the proper officer in the Central Office in lieu of service.