Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) Applications


  1. This Practice Direction is intended to apply to all applications made pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court for the detention and treatment of people who lack or are alleged to lack capacity.  These applications will appear in the Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) List. 
  2. This Practice Direction will come into operation on 2 October, 2023, and is issued in accordance with the general authority of the President of the High Court and sections 11(12) and (13) of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, insofar as it relates to remote (or hybrid) hearings. 


Ex Parte Applications

  1. During term time the President of the High Court or a Judge of the High Court nominated by him will be assigned each week to hear very urgent ex parte applications.  The Judge assigned to hear the ex parte applications will be identified every Monday in the Legal Diary. (Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) List)
  2. Where the applicant is of the opinion that the matter is sufficiently urgent to warrant an application for Orders to be made on an interim ex parte basis, the applicant shall make contact with the Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) List Registrar as soon as practicable by emailing inherentjurisdictioncapacity@courts.ie. The moving party should indicate to the Registrar the urgency of the application and give an approximate timeframe for the matter to be ready to be brought before the Court. 
  3. Except in cases of extreme urgency the Registrar should be notified of the application by no later than 11am on the day the application is to be made and papers should be issued from the Central Office as soon as possible.  Urgent appointments can be obtained from the Central Office by emailing dublincivillaw@courts.ie.  The Registrar will arrange a time for the matter to be heard with the designated Judge and inform the parties. 
  4. For ex parte applications practitioners are required to file an Originating Notice of Motion and Grounding Affidavit and complete a stamped ex parte docket to be handed into the Registrar.  The Notice of Motion will be given a nominal return date by the Central Office. 
  5. If Orders are granted on an ex parte basis then the Judge granting the ex parte Orders will give the Notice of Motion an updated return date and time which the applicant shall notify to the respondent as directed by the Court.  The Notice of Motion will then be assigned to that Judge who will retain seisin of the application unless otherwise ordered. 
  6. All subsequent listings for the case will appear on the legal diary in the Judges’ Advanced Warning List (ADV) on ‘Today’s Cases / All Lists’ under that Judge’s name. 


Interparty Applications

  1. Applications which are not sufficiently urgent to warrant an application for interim relief should be made by Originating Notice of Motion and Grounding Affidavit.  Practitioners should contact the Registrar to obtain a return date prior to filing papers in the Central Office.


Applications in Relation to Existing Wards of Court

  1. When an application is to be made in relation to existing Wards of Court who require new treatment or detention Orders, practitioners are required to contact the Registrar at inherentjurisdictioncapacity@courts.ie to obtain a return date prior to filing papers.  Practitioners should note that as Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) applications are separate to Wards of Court matters, are issued out of the Central Office and require a Central Office Registrar’s attendance, it is not sufficient to just notify the Wards of Court Office of the intention to make the application, the Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) Registrar must also be notified. 


Format of Papers and Time and Date for Lodging

  1. The moving party in an Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) application is responsible for providing the papers for the application to the Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) Registrar. 
  2. Unless otherwise directed by the President or the Judge hearing the application, the moving party is required to provide the papers for the application in hard and soft copy form.
  3. A hard copy of papers before the Court must be bound or contained in a folder and must be indexed and clearly paginated. The hard copy booklet of papers must be lodged in the List Room and not in the Central Office.  Any additional papers intended to be relied upon by the moving party or by any of the other parties to the application must also be lodged in hard copy in the List Room. 
  4. Soft copy papers must be provided to the Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) Registrar either on an electronic file sharing platform or by email sent to inherentjurisdictioncapacity@courts.ie.   
  5. Papers for all matters except urgent ex parte applications should be lodged no later than 48 hours before the matter is listed to appear before the Court.
  6. In situations where papers are not available 48 hours beforehand due to circumstances outside the practitioners control, permission should be sought from the Registrar for the late filing of same by emailing inherentjurisdictioncapacity@courts.ie.


Post Court Matters

  1. Once the application has been heard by the Judge, practitioners should email the Registrar a soft copy of the ex parte docket or notice of motion in Word format to assist with the drafting of the Order. 
  2. Copies of Orders made will be available at highcourtbespeaks@courts.ie at any time once the Order has been perfected. 


Failure to Comply with these Directions

  1. A failure to comply with the directions set out in this Notice in respect of any Inherent Jurisdiction (Capacity) application may lead to the application being adjourned or struck out on such terms, including as to costs, as the Court may determine.


David Barniville
President of the High Court
29 September 2023

High court