NI: County courts to gain jurisdiction over more personal injury and defamation cases
Northern Ireland’s county courts will gain jurisdiction over more personal injury and defamation cases under plans put out to consultation today.
Justice Minister Naomi Long has launched a 12-week public consultation on increasing the general civil jurisdiction of the county courts.
It seeks views on the financial boundaries which govern which court tier hears civil claims, such as for personal injury and breach of contract.
Mrs Long said: “County courts play an important role in the administration of justice for individuals and businesses. I want the system for making civil claims to be as efficient as possible by ensuring that cases are heard in the right court setting, consistent with their complexity and relative value.
“This consultation proposes options on the level of increase to the jurisdiction of county court and district judges which would move certain cases from the High Court in the future.
“The consultation also seeks views on increasing the jurisdiction of the small claims court, which is designed to quickly bring resolution for citizens involved in lower value cases. I would encourage those who have an interest to take part in this consultation.”
It also seeks views on increasing the jurisdiction for defamation cases to £10,000; whether clinical negligence cases should be reserved as a strictly High Court action or retain the current upper limit of £30,000; and whether county court judges should have a statutory power to remove cases from the county courts to the High Courts.