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International News

The District Court System in Ireland

February 27, 2019 posted by Steve Brownstein

The country is divided into twenty three districts.
Civil business
The civil jurisdiction of the District Court in contract and most other matters is where the claim or award does not exceed €15,000.
Criminal business
The District Court exercising its criminal jurisdiction deals with four particular types of offences.
Summary offences - these are offences for which there is no right of trial by judge and jury. This makes up the bulk of the criminal work of the District Court, these offences are exclusively statutory in origin. Indictable offences tried summarily - with the consent of the accused and the DPP and the judge being of the opinion that the facts constitute a minor offence.
Indictable offences - other than certain offences including rape, aggravated sexual assault, murder, treason and piracy where the accused pleads guilty and the DPP consents, and the judge accepts the guilty plea. Otherwise, the accused is sent forward to the Circuit Court on his signed plea of guilty for sentencing.
Indictable offences not tried summarily. With regard to these offences, a Book of Evidence is served on the accused. The judge considers the Book of Evidence and any submissions on behalf of the defence or the prosecution. If the judge is of the opinion that there is a sufficient case to answer, the accused is sent forward to the Circuit Court or Central Criminal Court for trial.

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