Applications to have cases in Dublin Personal Injuries List heard on a remote platform.
The attention of all practitioners is drawn to the provisions of s. 11 of the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020.
From 12th April, 2021, where, in respect of a personal injuries action the Court considers that the interests of justice can fairly be met by hearing that action on a remote platform, the Court may direct that the hearing will proceed in that manner.
Any party to a personal injuries action may, on notice to any other party, apply to the judge in charge of the Personal Injuries list for such a hearing. And, unless good reason can be established as to why the action should not be heard in such a manner, the Court will direct a remote hearing and give such further directions as may be necessary concerning the time and mode of trial.
Practice for lodging papers for Personal Injury cases to be heard on a remote platform.
1. The Plaintiff shall lodge the following documents in the List Room by 12 noon on the Thursday prior to the date fixed for the hearing:
(i) An agreed book of pleadings.
(ii) A book containing all expert reports exchanged pursuant to SI 391/98
(iii) A book containing any other document/documents upon which the parties intend to rely. The defendant shall provide to the plaintiff soft copies of any such document/documents, save for those referred to at 2 below, within 4 days of receiving a request for such documentation.
(iv) Book of documents concerning any claim for any special damages which is not agreed.
2. Any party intending to cast doubt on the credibility of a witness by introducing what might be described as surprise documentation or materials in the course of cross examination, should lodge copies of such documents/materials in the List Room by 12 noon on the Thursday prior to the date fixed for the hearing. It is not necessary for the party who does so to notify any other party as to their actions. The said documentation/materials should be placed in a sealed envelope bearing the name and record number of the case, the hearing date and the name and contact details of the solicitor who lodged the said documentation/ materials.
3. The trial judge will not consider any of the documentation delivered to the List Room, save for the Book of Pleadings, until such time as the trial commences whereupon the parties can advise the Court of any agreement reached as to the basis upon which regard might be had to any such document or report.
4. Parties to an action listed for hearing on a remote platform must ensure that all witness intending to give evidence have suitable Wifi/Internet coverage. Where any connection/coverage issues are anticipated or where it is otherwise appropriate to do so, parties should arrange for witnesses as to fact to attend the offices of their solicitor for the purpose of giving their evidence, subject always to compliance with public health guidance.
5. It is expected that this Practice Direction, subject to a change as to the location at which trial booklets are to be lodged, will apply to all personal injuries actions wheresoever listed for hearing with effect from the start of the Trinity term.
6. Nothing in this Practice Direction shall preclude a judge of the High Court from hearing any personal injuries action on a remote platform outside of Dublin before the commencement of the Trinity Term provided the parties consent or where there are exceptional circumstances which, in the interests of justice, would mandate such an approach.
President of the High Court
Dated 7 April, 2021.