On 1 October 2016, two new Statutory Instruments (SI 254/2016 and SI 255/2016) which made wide-ranging reforms to the procedural rules applicable to civil litigation in Ireland came into force. These rule reforms include enhanced case management in relation to Chancery and Non-Jury proceedings (bringing them in line with the procedures of the Commercial Court) and also introduce significant changes to the filing and exchange of witness statements and expert reports.
However, a number of the rules contained in SI 255 are dependent on the assignment of list judges and registrars to the Chancery and Non-Jury Lists. Following representations made to the President of the High Court, the President has stated that he does not intend to assign either a list judge or registrar within the meaning of the rules until the necessary resources have been put in place. As a result, the rules dependent on the assignment of list judges and registrars (which largely relate to the case management of proceedings) will have no practical effect pending the assignments being made. The President of the High Court has also confirmed that practitioners will receive at least two months advance notice of the assignments being made and the rules coming into effect.
It appears that the remaining rules contained in SI 255, ie those which do not require the involvement of a list judge or a registrar, are now in effect. SI 254 is also now fully effective. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the new rules and will provide a further update once a further announcement regarding the list judge and registrar assignments has been made.