Know Your Rights: Small Claims Procedure

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

What is the small claims procedure?

The small claims procedure (also known as the Small Claims Court) is a service which provides an inexpensive way for consumers and businesses to resolve disputes without employing a solicitor.

It is provided by the local District Court offices. To use the service, the claim cannot exceed €2,000.

Who are the parties in a claim?

If you are making the claim, you are known as the claimant. The person you are claiming against is known as the respondent. Both the claimant and the respondent must be living or based in Ireland. If either party lives or is based in another EU member state, the European small claims procedure should be used.

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How to make a claim

To make a claim, you must complete a small claims procedure application form and return it to the District Court Office in the relevant area. This form is available from local District Court offices where staff can help you complete it.

You can submit the application online, by post, or in person at a local District Court office.

It is important when completing the application form to give all the necessary information. This will help the Small Claims Registrar to process your claim. If no resolution can be reached, it will also make it easier to enforce a decree or court order, if one is granted.

The Courts Service website has more information on how to apply on its website.

Where to make a claim

The small claims procedure is provided through local District Court offices. You make your claim to the District Court office in the relevant area. The relevant area is one or more of the following:

• Where the person you are making a claim against lives or carries on business
• Where the contract was made
• Where the damage to property took place

You will find a list of District Court areas on the Courts Service website.

What types of claims are dealt with under the small claims procedure?

The procedure can be used to resolve consumer complaints and certain other types of disputes.

You can make consumer claims about:

• Minor damage to your property
• Goods or services bought for private use from someone selling them during business.
• The non-return of a rent deposit for certain kinds of rented properties, such as a holiday home or a flat in a premises where the landlord also lives.

The small claims procedure cannot be used to make consumer claims for debts, personal injuries, or breaches of leasing or hire-purchase agreements.

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Can a business claim against another business?

Businesses can make claims against other businesses relating to contracts for goods or services purchased. It does not apply to claims about:

• Breaches of leasing agreements
• Debt or liquidated damages
• Agreements to which the Consumer Credit Act 1995 applies.

How does the small claims procedure work?

The claimant submits the application form to the Small Claims Registrar either online, by post, or in person at a local District Court office. The respondent is notified of the claim and is sent a copy by post.

The respondent usually has 15 calendar days to reply, but this can vary depending on the District Court office. If the respondent does not reply to the claim within the specified timeframe, they are deemed to have admitted the claim.

If the respondent disputes the claim and no settlement can be reached, the matter is set down for a hearing in the District Court.

If this happens, you will receive a letter from the District Court office telling you the date and time of the court hearing, and the location of the court itself. The case will be heard in public as part of a normal sitting of the District Court. You may wish to get legal advice.

Under Irish law, a business is required to be legally represented if it goes to court.

Can the court’s decision be appealed?

If either you or the respondent are unhappy with the decision of the court, you have the right to appeal to the Circuit Court. An appeal application must be made to the court within 14 days, but you can apply to have this timeframe extended.

The respondent is likely to have legal representation and the judge can award costs against you, so it is important to carefully consider any decision to appeal.

How much does it cost to make a claim?

It costs €25 to make a claim through the small claims procedure. This fee is payable by:

• Bank draft
• Postal order
• Solicitor’s letter
• Cheque (with a guarantee card)
• Credit/debit card (if applying online)

Bank drafts, postal orders and cheques should be made payable to ‘The Courts Service’.

If your claim is rejected as not suitable for the small claims procedure, you will be refunded the fee.

If your claim is accepted as suitable for the small claims procedure, the fee is not refunded, even if your claim is successful.

Further information

You can read more detailed information about the small claims procedure on The Courts Service website and on

• For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.  Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.

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