THE COMMERCIAL COURT is a division of the High court established to fast-track commercial disputes. The court has unlimited jurisdiction.
Following the service of a Summons, an application can be made by way of Motion to the Commercial court seeking liberty to have the case entered into the Commercial Court for hearing. It is open to a Defendant to oppose the Plaintiff’s application and indeed a Defendant can himself make an application for admittance even if the Plaintiff does not want his action determined through that division of the High Court. The Court will decide at the hearing of the Motion whether to admit the action into the Commercial Court and if this is done, the Court, in the absence of agreement by the parties, will fix a timetable for the delivery of Pleadings and discovery etc. The Court will enforce this timetable strictly and it is open to either party to an action to make an ex-parte application to the Court in the event that there is an default in the Court’s timetable by the opposing party.
Depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the extent of discovery to be provided, on average a case will take some 6 months from commencement to determination.
If a Plaintiff believes that there is no defence to his claim, he can, at the time of issuing the Motion for admittance to the commercial Court, incorporate into it an application for Summary Judgment and this will be determined on Affidavit by the court once the action has been admitted into the commercial Court jurisdiction. If the Court is satisfied that Summary Judgment and that the Defendant has failed to establish grounds for a defence, Summary Judgment will be granted and costs are generally awarded to the Plaintiff or to the Defendant where the Summary Judgment application is rejected. These costs can also be reserved until the hearing of the action proper in the event that it has to go to a full plenary hearing.
In making an application for admittance to the Commercial Court, the Plaintiff has to pay a fee of €5,000.00 to the Court Services which fee is refunded in the event that the case is not admitted to that Court. In the event that an application for admittance is rejected, the Plaintiff must then proceed with his case through the High Court proper which can take anything from 2 years to 4 years depending on how diligently the matter is processed.
As part of the application for admittance, the Solicitor handling the case must provide a personal undertaking to the Court to abide by the terms of the Court’s directions. An Appeal from a decision the Commercial Court can be made to the Supreme Court or to a new Appeals Court presently being established in Ireland.