Update on Court Sittings – COVID-19

A statement was released on 13th March 2020 outlining updated measures which would be taken by the Courts Service to prevent the risk presented by the COVID-19 virus. Prior to that date, a number of curtailments had been introduced in connection with court sittings, however Friday’s statement will result in a large scale back of sittings to create social distancing and avoid gatherings of people in the one place. In short, the changes will see only urgent cases being dealt with in the coming weeks, and cases not involving witnesses. The following is a short synopsis of the update in respect of each court jurisdiction relating to civil matters:

The Supreme Court

Any appeals which are listed for hearing will be adjourned on consent by the Supreme Court between now and the 3rd April 2020. If no consent is furnished to adjourn an appeal, the Court will arrange for the adjournment of the matter unless a particular urgency can be demonstrated. The position will then be reviewed following the 3rd of April, and once that position has been reviewed, new dates will be fixed for hearing during the next Court term or when a view has been taken that the situation has sufficiently improved.

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal will adopt the same approach as the Supreme Court in terms of matters being adjourned. All adjournment applications will be dealt with remotely through email correspondence will the relevant registrars. The Court Offices will also remain open and communications with those Offices can continue by way of telephone and email.

The High Court

The President of the High Court has made the decision that the Court will only deal with urgent matters, to include, but not limited to, injunctions and their enforcement, and urgent judicial review applications. The Court will adjourn on consent any motions and actions which are listed for hearing between now and the end of term (3rd April 2020). Once again, adjournment applications will be dealt with remotely by way of email correspondence.

The Circuit Court

All civil lists will be adjourned to a date after the commencement of the next Court term on 20th April 2020, to include the County Registrars’ Lists. The Court Offices will temporarily accept consent adjournment applications by email where both parties or their legal representatives communicate their consent and the parties will then be notified of the adjourned date by response. A judge will be available on each Circuit to hear urgent applications.

The District Court

Civil matters which are not considered to be urgent will be adjourned to a new date and parties will be informed of the new date through communication with their solicitor or barrister or by way of ordinary post.

The above measures for each jurisdiction of the Courts will be reviewed prior to the commencement of the next Court term on 12th April 2020 or earlier if needed. The full statement released by the Courts Service can be found through the link below:


BHSM will be in contact with clients in relation to matters which are listed in Court in the coming weeks. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Solicitor dealing with your matter in our Litigation Department.

How we can help?

If we can be of any assistance in relation to any general queries you may have or if you require assistance in connection with any urgent civil matter, please contact Sarah O’Toole in our Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department on 01 440 8300 or sotoole@bhsm.ie.

This article is for general information purposes.  Legal advice must be obtained for individual circumstances.  Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article, no liability is accepted by the author for any inaccuracies.


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