Clarification At Last! Costs Update- "Special Circumstances" And Order 53 Rule 2 (2) Of The District Court Rules

Published date06 February 2023
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Personal Injury, Professional Negligence
AuthorMs Emma Murphy

Teresa Field v Cork City Council

A recent decision from Justice Miriam O'Regan in an Appeal from the Circuit Court to the High Court on Circuit in Cork has provided helpful guidance on the award of District Court costs in Circuit Court proceedings, more particularly the application for Order 53 Rule 2 (2) of the District Court Rules.

RDJ LLP was instructed on behalf of the Defendant.

This Appeal was brought by the Defendant, Cork City Council specifically in relation to one element of the Costs Order granted by the Circuit Court following the hearing on 25 January 2022. The Defendant entered the Appeal specifically in relation to the part of the Court Order permitting Order 53 Rule 2(2) of the District Court Rules.

What is Order 53 Rule 2 (2) of the District Court Rules?

Order 53, Rule 2(2) of the District Court Rules provides that:

The Court may, where appropriate in the special circumstances of a case, to be specified by the Court, award an amount for costs and/or counsel's fees in excess of the amount provided in the Schedule of Costs."

Circuit Court Proceedings

By way of background to the Circuit Court proceedings, the Plaintiff pleaded that on the 22nd July 2019 she was caused to trip and fall on a lip on a footpath and suffered injuries that were soft tissue in nature. This was a Book of Quantum case.

A full defence including a plea of non-feasance and contributory negligence was entered by the Defendant. The plea of non-feasance was subsequently withdrawn four weeks after the Defence was entered. There was one request for discovery in the matter, a request from the Plaintiff to the Defendant and one subsequent motion brought by the Plaintiff in relation to this discovery request.

With regards to injuries sustained, the Plaintiff had two medical reports and the Defendant had one. The Plaintiff made quite a good recovery so medical evidence was not complicated and the medical reports were agreed in advance of the hearing.

On the day of the hearing the matter essentially ran as an assessment and the Judge found in favour of the Plaintiff and awarded her '10,000 for general damages taking into account contributory negligence. In addition, '400 was allowed for special damages.

Given the award made, the Judge made an Order for District Court costs to the Plaintiff. Counsel for the Plaintiff then made an application for Order 53 Rule 2 (2) of the District Court Rules. With regards to the special circumstances of the case he pointed out that the case...

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