The Commercial Court

The Commercial Court

The Commercial Court is a division of the High Court and was established in 2004 to provide efficient and effective dispute resolution in commercial cases. It is governed by Order 63A of the Rules of the Superior Courts in particular.

There is no automatic right of entry to the Commercial List of the High Court, it is at the discretion of the Judge of the Commercial Court. Special application must be made to enter the Commercial List and only certain cases will be admitted.

Court rules define “commercial proceedings” as:

“(a)proceedings in respect of a claim or counterclaim for damages, which does not relate to a personal injuries matter and where the value of the claim is not less than One Millon ( €1,000,000) arising from or related to any one or more of the following:

(i) a business document, business contract or business dispute where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(ii) the determination of any question of construction arising in respect of a business document or business contract where the value of the transaction the subject matter thereof is not less than €1,000,000;

(iii) the purchase or sale of commodities where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(iv) the export or import of goods where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(v) the carriage of goods by land, sea, air or pipeline where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(vi) the exploitation of oil or gas reserves or any other natural resource where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(vii) insurance or re-insurance where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(viii) the provision of services (not including medical, quasi-medical or dental services or any service provided under a contract of employment) where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(ix) the operation of markets or exchanges in stocks, shares or other financial or investment instruments, or in commodities where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(x) the construction of any vehicle, vessel or aircraft where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(xi) business agency where the value of the claim or counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(b) proceedings in respect of any other claim or counterclaim, not being a claim or counterclaim for damages for personal injuries, which the Judge of the Commercial List, having regard to the commercial and any other aspect thereof, considers appropriate for entry in the Commercial List;

(c) any application or proceedings under the Arbitration Acts 1954 to 1998 (other than an application in pursuance of section 5 of the Arbitration Act, 1980 to stay proceedings in respect of a matter referred to arbitration) where the value of the claim or any counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(d) any proceedings instituted or any application or reference made or appeal lodged under the provisions of the Patents Act, 1992, not including an application under section 108(4) of that Act;

(e) any proceedings instituted, application made or appeal lodged under –
(i) the Trade Marks Act, 1996;
(ii) the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000;
(iii) the Industrial Designs Act, 2001;

(f) any proceedings instituted for relief in respect of passing off;

(g) any appeal from, or application for judicial review of, a decision or determination made or a direction given by a person or body authorised by statute to make such decision or determination or give such direction, where the Judge of the Commercial List considers that the appeal or application is, having regard to the commercial or any other aspect thereof, appropriate for entry in the Commercial List;

Amendments have further been made to the commercial court rules to allow the following to be heard:

(h) Any application or proceedings under the Arbitration Act 2010 (other than an application or request for an order under Article 8(1) of the Model Law or Article II.3 of the New York Convention (each within the meaning of section 2(1) of that Act)) where the value of the claim or any counterclaim is not less than €1,000,000;

(i)Any proceedings by or against the Registrar (within the meaning of Article 1 of the Cape Town Convention) in connection with any function exercised or exercisable by the Registrar under the Cape Town Convention or the Aircraft Protocol (each as defined in section 3 of the International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town Convention) Act 2005) or any regulations or procedures made thereunder”.

The most striking features of the Commercial Court are the speed with which cases can progress to trial and the nature of proceedings the Court is willing to hear. This has been achieved by the Court providing directions as to the timeline involved for exchange of pleadings which basically streamlines the matter. The Court rigorously applies short deadlines and is not slow to impose costs orders.
The judge can adjourn proceedings to allow resolution of the dispute through some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, conciliation or arbitration.

Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors have extensive experience in acting in Commercial Court matters for both the Plaintiff and the Defendant and are well placed to advise any individual, business or institution considering commercial court proceedings.

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