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Notice of Justice Barniville on Management of Dublin Court Proceedings

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Published 15 March 2023


In September 2022, Mr Justice David Barniville, President of the High Court, issued a notice in relation to the management of proceedings in the High Court. The purpose of the notice was to clarify the Court’s position moving forward in relation to a number of practices that had developed in the judicial system during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as hybrid and remote Court hearings.

The notice clarified that the default position going forward for those matters involving witness evidence (i.e. cases that involve oral testimony) is that they will be be heard ‘in person’, unless specifically ordered otherwise.

Any party is entitled to apply to have a case listed as hybrid or remote, even where the default is for an in-person hearing, and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the judiciary.

Proceedings or applications which do not require witness or oral evidence may be listed for a fully remote hearing or a hybrid hearing.

The notice clarifies what the default position will be for each specific Court list including clarifying that the Chancery, Civil Jury, Commercial Court and Personal Injuries lists will be default ‘in person’, whereas the Common Law motion list and judicial review ex parte applications will be on a hybrid basis. Full details of how all lists will be dealt with is set out in the notice.

A permanent future for hybrid hearings?

The notice advises that where the Judge sits physically in the Court room with the Registrar, both the legal practitioners and parties have the option of attending either remotely or in person. It also states that only proceedings and applications which can be heard as fairly and effectively as they would in the case of a ‘in person’ hearing, will be listed for a remote hearing or a hybrid hearing.

The President of the High Court, Judge Barniville stresses that any legal practitioner or litigant who choose to participate remotely in a Court hearing, have the same ability and entitlement to address the Court, as they would if they were physically present in Court. He also states that in order for hybrid hearings to work effectively and smoothly, the participants need to be cognisant of the need to be seen and heard clearly by the Judge and all parties in the matter.

This aspect of the notice serves as a reminder of the Practice Direction HC112 which sets out the requirements regarding attendance at remote hearings, including ensuring a stable internet connection in advance and dressing in suitable Court attire.