The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., today announced that he has introduced new Court Rules to extend the current remit of the Small Claims procedure to include certain business claims. The new rules will facilitate claims from a business against another business in respect of goods or services not exceeding €2,000.

Introducing the new Small Claims procedure Minister Ahern said "This Government is conscious that all businesses, but small businesses in particular, have been significantly affected by the very difficult economic situation that this country is facing. Businesses, as well as consumers, can find themselves in a position where they have a legitimate claim against another business or vendor in relation to a contract in respect of goods or services purchased.  

The extension of this successful procedure will provide a choice of legal routes to pursue a small claim as the current civil bill system will also remain available. This will allow a business choose whichever route, small claims or civil bill procedure, it considers most economic and appropriate to its circumstances." 

The Minister went on to say that "By limiting the new procedure to consumer and business to business claims, the fundamental pro-consumer ethos of the small claims process will be maintained. It is essential that consumers, especially in vulnerable economic circumstances, are protected. The new procedure provides the necessary safeguards for consumers."

The new rules will come into effect on 11 January 2010.  

5 January 2010 

Note For Editors 

The new Small Claims procedure amends District Court Rules (Order 53A of the District Court Rules 1997). The consumer or business must have purchased goods or services from someone selling them in the course of business. Claims cannot be made in respect of debts, personal injuries or breach of leasing or hire purchase agreements. The procedure provides an alternative and complimentary mechanism to the civil bill procedure.

It should be noted that Irish jurisprudence currently requires limited liability companies to engage legal representation for an court based proceedings. The Minister has requested that this precedent be reviewed by the Company Law Review Group.