High Court Summons
The Rules of the Superior Courts specify the procedures for the commencement of litigation. In broad terms, proceedings are commenced by a summons, petition or originating motion. Most substantial proceedings are initiated by a summons.
The summons is the successor of the writs that existed for many centuries prior to Irish Independence. The summons is issued by the Central Office in the name of the Chief Justice. Forms of summons are prescribed. Certain details including the names and addresses of the parties are required. The plaintiff’s solicitor’s name and place of business must also be set out if the plaintiff is represented.
There a number of types of summons. A plenary summons is used for full hearings with pleadings and an eventual trial with witnessed and sworn evidence.
The Summary summons is used in certain prescribed types of proceedings which are heard on an affidavit, for example, debt collection.
A special summons is used in relation to certain specified type of proceedings which are prescribed by rules and are based principally on affidavits i.e. written evidence.
A personal injury summons is a special type of procedure prescribed for personal injury cases in the context of the reforms undertaken in 2003/ 2004 designed to make personal injury claims more efficient.
Petitions are used in a variety of specialised legal claims and applications such as those in relation to insolvency, liquidation, bankruptcy. The petitioner is the applicant.
A Petition is presented by filing at the central office the form of petition and other required documents in accordance with the relevant court, as may be required for the particular type of case. In certain types of application, this may be relatively short.
The originating motion procedure is another type of procedure prescribed by the court rules in certain types of case. The originating motion is issued and obtains a date before court shortly after it is issued. It is placed in the list and may be adjourned a number of times until ready to proceed. It may be listed for trial or dealt with summarily.
Originating motions apply to a variety of applications including certain company act application judicial reviews and planning injunctions.The terms of the originating motion depend on the nature of the subject matter as set by the relevant rules.
Save where the Rules otherwise provides, civil proceedings in the High Court are initiated by an originating summons.
The plenary summons is the default summons and applies where a no other summons is applicable under rules. In some cases, a plenary summons may be used even though a special or summary summons could be used. In other cases the use of special and summary summons is mandatory.
In the case of plenary proceedings, namely those type with pleadings and an ultimate hearing on oral evidence, a plenary summons in the prescribed format is to be used. The procedure by plenary summons is obligatory except where the procedure by special summons or summary summons is required or authorised by the Rules.
In the case of summary proceedings without pleadings, which are to be heard on affidavit with or without oral evidence, a summary summons in the prescribed form is to be used.
Costs caused by the use of any other forms of summons, indorsements or documents which are unduly lengthy are to be borne by the party using the same unless the Court otherwise directs.
A plaintiff suing in person shall indorse his occupation and description and an address for service. Originating summonses are issued out of the High Court Central Office. They are to be prepared by the plaintiff or his solicitor and shall be written or printed or partly written and printed, on paper of the type directed by the Rules.
Indorsement of Claim Plenary Summons
The plenary summons general indorsement of claim need only specify the general nature of the claim. It is not the detailed pleadings. These are set out in the statement of claim. The indorsement should seek a final relief. The rules of court require particular types of indorsements in respect of particular types of claim. Sample indorsements are set out in the court rules.
The indorsement of claim in the plenary summons is a general endorsement of claim. It sets out the relief claimed and the grounds thereof expressed in general terms in one of a number of forms as specified in the rules or in other similarly concise form as the case requires. It shall not be essential to set forth in the general indorsement, the precise ground of complaint or the precise remedy.
Indorsement of Claim Plenary Summons
A Personal injury summons is in a prescribed form of claim introduced by the 2004 reforms. It applies both to claims for personal injury or claims for property damage combined with personal injury.
The personal injury summons must contain the prescribed details of the claimant. It requires specified details relating to the personal injury claim and the plaintiff.Full details of the injuries and alleged wrongs must be set out in it. Instances of negligence and full particulars of special damage must be set out. Full particulars of the claim must be specified.
Where, as is almost invariably required the authorisation of the Injuries Board is required, this must be set out in the statement. The particulars of the authorisation must be included.
Indorsement of Claim Summary Summons
The summary summons is used for debt collection for a fixed sum, ejectment of tenants claims to have an account taken, amongst other types of case. The special indorsement of claims is to set out specifically the basis of the claim and the relief sought. There is no further statement of claim so it will constitute the pleadings. It must set out a valid claim.
The indorsement of claim in a summary summons is a special indorsement of claim. It shall state specifically with all necessary particulars, the relief claimed and the grounds thereof. It may be in one of the forms prescribed or in a similarly concise adopted form.
When a claim indorsed on a summary summons is for a liquidated (i.e. fixed sum) only, usually, a debt only, the indorsement besides stating the amount claimed, shall state the amount claimed for costs. It shall further whether that on payment of such amount demanded and costs within six days after service or in case of a summons not for service within the jurisdiction, within the time limited for appearance, that further proceedings will be stayed. There are prescribed sums in respect of costs in these cases.
The sum sought must be fixed or liquidated sum. It must set out the amount sought in the claim. The Six-day costs must be set out. This is the sum on payment of which, further proceedings will be stayed. The sum must not be excessive or it will be set aside as irregular.
The defendant may, notwithstanding payment, have the costs taxed if more than one-sixth of the amount paid shall be disallowed. The amount disallowed shall be refunded and the plaintiff’s solicitor shall pay the costs of taxation.
Indorsement of Claim Special Summons
A special summons is for certain prescribed types of claim which may be heard without full ion and doubtful pleadings and are generally heard on affidavit. It may primarily raise points of law which do not require the resolution of conflicts of evidence.
Once again a special indorsement of claim is required which must set out specifically the relevant circumstances and relief claimed. It must set out the basis of the claim. An affidavit verifying the claim must be filed in the central office after the summons is issued. Notice of filing must be given to the parties concerned.
Particular Requirements I
In any proceeding for the recovery of land, the summons shall contain a description of the property sought to be recovered with reasonable certainty. It shall state the county and county district or the city, town and parish, in which the land is situated. An error or omission is not to invalidate proceedings but may be the subject of an application to Court corrected for particulars.
In an action for recovery of land, any tenant under-tenant or other person in actual possession may be named as a defendant and the summons shall be directed to such tenant, under-tenant or another person, with the addition of the words “and all persons concerned.”
If the plaintiff sues or the defendant is sued in a representative capacity, the indorsement shall show in a manner appearing in the scheduled forms or by other statement to similar effect, the capacity in which the plaintiff or defendant sues or is sued.
Particular Requirements II
In probate actions, the indorsement shall show whether the plaintiff claims as a creditor, executor, administrator, legatee, devisee, or in another capacity. Where the plaintiff, in the first instance, desires to have an account taken, a claim that for such account shall be set out in the indorsement.
In claims by moneylenders, their assignees or personal representatives, certain particulars of the loan including the fact that a note or memorandum was signed by the borrower; the rate of interest; particulars of the loan and repayments must be set out.
The solicitor of a plaintiff shall indorse on the summons, a notice in lieu of a summons, the address and occupation or description of the plaintiff and also his own name, that of his firm and his registered place of businesses, where notices, pleadings, warrants and other documents may be left for him.
Where the proceedings require an authorisation by the Injuries Board, the indorsement of claim shall contain a statement
- confirming that the proceedings have been authorised by the Board;
- specifying the statutory provision under which it is issued; and
- citing the date of issue of the authorisation and any reference or record number relating to such authorisation.
A concurrent summons may be subsequently issued bearing the date of the original summons. It may be necessary where there are multiple defendants.
A plaintiff in proceedings may, at the time of issue or within twelve months after the issue of the originating summons, issue one or more concurrent summons. Each shall bear the same date of issue as the original summons and bear the word “concurrent” and its date of issue. Such seal shall be impressed upon the summons by the proper officer. The concurrent summons shall only be in force for a period during which the original summons is in force.
The summons for service within the jurisdiction may be issued and marked as a concurrent summons with one for service or of which a notice in lieu of service is given, outside the jurisdiction. A summons for service or for which a notice in lieu of service is to be given out of the jurisdiction may be issued and marked as a concurrent service with one for service in the jurisdiction.
Solicitor Matters I
Every solicitor whose name shall be indorsed on a summons or other originating document shall, on demand in writing made by or on behalf of a defendant who has been served with the same or notice of it or has appeared to it, shall declare in writing whether such summons or originating document has been issued by him or with his authority. If such solicitor shall declare that the summons or other originating document was not issued by him or with his authority, then the proceedings are deemed stayed and no further proceedings shall be without leave of the Court.
A party suing or defending by a solicitor shall be at liberty to change solicitor or discharge his solicitor and sue or defend in person. Any party suing or defending in person shall be at liberty to appoint a solicitor, without an order for that purpose, upon notice of such change, discharge or appointment being filed in the Central Office. Until such notice is so filed and a copy thereof served, no such change, discharge or appointment shall be deemed effective.
A party giving such notice shall serve a copy on every other party to the proceedings. Every notice shall state a registered place of office or business for service. A party giving any such notice may perform the duties prescribed under the rule either in person or through his new solicitor.
Solicitor Matters II
Where a solicitor who has acted for a party in proceedings and has died, become bankrupt, cannot be found, has failed to take out a practising certificate, been struck off or has ceased to act for the party and the party has not given a notice of change of solicitor or notice of intention to act in person, any other party to the proceedings or the solicitor who has ceased to act may on notice to be served on the first party, personally or by letter addressed to his last-known place of residence, unless the Court otherwise directs, apply to the Court for an order declaring that the solicitor has ceased to be the solicitor acting for the party and the Court may make an order accordingly.
Where such an order has been made, the party or the solicitor who applied for it shall immediately give notice to the same effect as the order and the above provisions for filing and service shall apply, with the necessary modifications, subject to any direction as to service on the first party. Where the order is made on the application of a solicitor, the solicitor shall, subject to the provisions of the rules be considered solicitor of the party to the final conclusion of the proceedings unless and until he has complied with the above provisions as to change of solicitor.
If the first party does not appoint another solicitor or give an address for service as is required of a party acting in person, any documents in respect of which personal service is not requisite may be served on the said party by being filed with a proper officer of the Court.